Colonial Leisure Group has unveiled the first stages of plans for its first NSW pub – the newly-acquired Newtown Hotel.

After purchasing the popular inner-west venue in February, Colonial Leisure Group (CLG) took possession in April and has moved to make its mark on the Newtown pub, located in one of Sydney’s most dynamic and influential precincts.

Chris Morris’ CLG paid around $8.5m for the multi-levelled venue, and installed Scott Campbell as venue manager to oversee plans to introduce changes including an Asian-fusion food offering called Eat Up, to replace Keystone’s Greek-inspired The Animal in the upstairs space.

Newtown Hotel_eatup now open_InstEat Up is headed up by chef Francis Chen, and offers dishes derived mostly from Japanese street food, such as the Japanese-inspired hot dogs and cheese takoyaki balls. Campbell told PubTIC it is the focus of a holistic concept for the pub’s dining that also incorporates drinks and decor.

“The whole menu is designed with food and friends in mind. There is something to suit every taste and every pocket, and we hope to get people talking about drinks that perhaps they haven’t tried before.”

The drinks menus feature a mixture of contemporary Australian and old-world wines a little different and more diverse than traditional pub staples, aiming to “excite and challenge”. Cocktails are “classical at the core”, but designed to be fun and complement the spices found in the food.

The beer list similarly draws from the cuisine, featuring Hitachino beers from Japan, and other South-East Asian classics as well as Australian craft stalwarts.

In coming months, the dining space’s interior will also come to reflect its inspiration, with cosy corners and cue’s to its Asian influences.

“There are plans to develop the upstairs space aesthetically into a modern contemporary dining room,” said Campbell. “We are aiming to create an atmosphere that is both unique and inviting to the foodies of Sydney.”

CLG operates 15 venues in Victoria and WA, and upon purchase of the Newtown earlier this year national general manager Lawrence Dowd conceded to PubTIC the challenges of expanding into another state.

“Small steps first, until we bed down the new town.”

However, the Group has also just announced its acquisition of Brisbane’s large-format Fox Hotel. Details to follow.

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  1. Congrats Chris and the team at CLG. You’ve hit the mark well with an offer tailor made for Newtown. Great ambience, an eclectic interesting and on trend fit out and a menu with some real flair and individuality to it. The staff were outstanding and attentive in Eat Up and the range of drinks available was excellent catering to so many tastes with real breadth.

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