Mark Malloy is leveraging his sporting connections to help his Panania Hotel become a beacon in community engagement.
Since purchasing the south-western suburban in mid-2015, Malloy has gone about reviving and repositioning it as a traditional local for inhabitants of the region.
Beyond the cosmetic and aesthetic upgrades inside and out, there is a new kitchen and on-trend menu under chef Jamie Gannon, and a pop-up stage for live music.
But more poignantly, the Panania has begun initiatives to help local sporting teams and underprivileged kids, with an eye to providing role models for juveniles susceptible to bad influences.
“Little pubs like Panania can play a really important role in social fabric and community and sport, so I just think it’s important,” offers Malloy.
Having played in the 85-86 schoolboys side to Europe with Ricky Stuart as captain, Malloy has gotten to know Barry Ward, teammate with Stuart at the Bulldogs, and now on the board of Milperra Colts.
A chance meeting led to the pub getting behind the team and helping mentor the up-and-comers.
“Barry came up with the idea,” says Malloy. “I’m sponsoring Milperra Colts Junior Rugby League, and now we’re running schooner raffles and seafood trays, and using money to fund kids that come from pretty tough backgrounds. The aim of getting them in sport is to keep them on the straight and narrow. Out of harm’s way.”
Popular Sydney brewery Young Henrys has been donating kegs of beer to the pub, the profits of which are allocated to the Colts fund.
Malloy says the struggle of regional pubs today, historically the centre of their communities, has brought him to value and learn from “what the pub was traditionally about” at the Panania.
“And we’re trying to.”