Wowan's Commercial Hotel to stay open with community support
WOWAN'S Commercial Hotel will stay open for as long as its owners Marvin "Muscles" O'Brien and his wife can manage it.
That's the decision they made on Sunday evening following an outpouring of support from the community of just more than 200 people.
Insurance fees, licensing costs and ever-rising power prices had brought the pub to the brink of closure last month, Muscles said.
But a community meeting organised by supporters and continued patronage from regular customers meant the couple decided they did not want to be responsible for pulling the plug on the historic establishment.
The plan now is to keep the pub open until they find a buyer or until it becomes impossible to continue.
"We put in solar about two years ago and that knocked our bill back a little, but now (due to price increases) the bill is back to where it was originally," Muscles said.
"The regulars have tried to help us as much as they can, picking up support with some takeaways, but a lot of people go straight into (Rockhampton) where it's cheaper prices for that.
"They're going through drought as well, so you can't really blame them."
Muscles knows it will be no easy task to find a buyer given how many country pubs are on the market in similar circumstances.
But he is determined not to gloss over the situation, instead pointing out the positives about the pub and the town in which it resides.
The Commercial Hotel is the only pub in any direction for 50km after the Dululu Hotel was gutted by fire in September 2015.
The building boasts a long public bar plus an indoor dining area, accommodation, a fireplace, pool table, courtyard with picnic table seating, and even an outdoor big screen for footy games.
The accommodation and kitchen services were closed recently in an effort to cut down costs, though meals will soon be served again.
The pub also hosts meat tray raffles on Fridays to raise funds for local groups like the P&C Committee and Multipurpose Centre.
"It's going to have to come from the heart, someone that comes through and likes the look of it," Muscles said of any potential buyer.
"We're just grateful for the support and don't want to let the community down."
One patron said it was the friendly service at the bar that kept him coming back.
"You pay double for the first one, the second one's free," he said.