The Witch co-owner Ray Smith shows off some of his craft beer offerings.
The Witch co-owner Ray Smith shows off some of his craft beer offerings.

PREVIEW: New venue to honour iconic watering hole

WEST Ipswich residents are celebrating the return of a local watering hole following the opening of a new-look venue at the site of the former Coronation Hotel.

Co-owner of The Witch, Ray Smith, said he and business partner Ron Oatley saw great potential in the beloved old pub, which closed about two years ago.

While keen to honour its legacy, breathing life back into the site with fresh ideas was a must.

“We’ve opened [the venue] right up, there was an old drive-through bottle shop with a cold room, we knocked a walkway through the wall,” Mr Smith said.

The Witch Hotel at West Ipswich
The Witch Hotel at West Ipswich

A dedicated craft beer bar with 20 taps has replaced what was formerly a gaming area.

“We’ve got 10 craft beers on tap and 18 standard beers on tap,” Mr Smith said.

“Instead of creating a microbrewery like we initially wanted to, we went to Ballistic Brewery and they assisted us in getting Black Hops and other beers on tap.”

The duo opted not to have a gaming room, but will consider a TAB and Keno facility.

Outside, a sun-drenched and freshly painted deck is bound to tempt passers-by for a cold one.

The new craft beer bar at Witch Hotel.
The new craft beer bar at Witch Hotel.

“Summer’s been a bit cruel for the western sun, but I think in the winter we’ll look to get a soloist or duet out there,” Mr Smith said.

“Maybe we’ll host a Sunday session out there.

“We’ve got plenty of room inside for music too. We’ll move forward with something a little bit different compared to what The Coronation used to be known for.”

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Musicians could soon play on the new deck at the front of the venue.
Musicians could soon play on the new deck at the front of the venue.

Other major structural changes included the transformation of an old cocktail bar into a function room, in a bid to broaden the pub’s offerings.

“It’s quite a special pub, it was a Queensland icon,” Mr Smith said.

“We’ll be putting in some little takeaway options, but the locals deserved their hotel back though it’s still a work in progress.

“There’s nothing this side of town really, besides a couple of pubs up the road which we believe we’ll be a lot different to.”

The Witch Hotel at Ipswich
The Witch Hotel at Ipswich

The adjoining motel units have also undergone major renovations.

“We’ve recarpeted, painted, put in new curtains and brand-new beds, along with TV and cabinetry,” Mr Smith said.

“[The rooms] were in really bad need of refurbishment and now we’ve got some great occupants at the moment too.”

Mr Smith said he hoped punters would come and show their support for the new venue.