By Renee Wood
Yellingbo locals will be the new owners of the Home Hotel Launching Place pub following the sale of the Warburton Highway venue last month.
Neil and Robyn Shankley have been in the hospitality industry for 30 years, running a catering business and decided to purchase the historic pub after noticing it was closed for some time.
“We had wondered what was happening there ourselves and then we saw it was up for sale and we felt there was an opportunity to get the pub back into an operating state, and certainly provide a good local to the community,” Mr Shankley said.
The Shankleys were regular diners living in the area and plan to keep its appeal as a family pub where everybody’s welcome.
Mr Shackley expects the offerings will include traditional pub meals and drinks, a TAB, take away bottle shop and live music sessions in the beer garden.
“We’re looking at improving things as far as kitchen facilities go, some of the dining facilities, the outdoor beer garden, but the look and feel of the pub we’d like to keep fairly similar with probably a bit of an emphasis on the Yarra Valley – we would like to try and include where we can local wines and food.”
The two storey building can hold up to 330 people at the venue and is set right on the riding trails, with more accessibility for visitors also a priority for the new owners.
“Also making it accessible off the Warby trial, so people with bikes or horses can come through and have a drink if they feel, but encouraging families as well. It has always been a bit of a family pub, which we thought was nice.”
Once hand over is complete, renovations will soon begin on refreshing up the establishment with an expected opening date sometime in the new year.
“We wanted to do things properly rather than rush a project. I think we’d know early in the new year exactly what our timeline is and certainly we will let people know when we’re thinking of opening.”