Watering hole closed
Tuesday, 8th April, 2014
By By Craig Brealey
The West Darling Hotel has been closed for more than a week and no-one is saying if this is temporary or if the city has lost another historic watering hole.
The hotel, built in 1886 and formerly known at the Freemason’s, was shut without public notice nearly a month after the BDT asked the hotel’s management about rumours that it was about to be sold and was told that it was not.
A persistent rumour was that the building was being bought by Broken Hill businessman Steve Radford.
Geoffrey Luke, who has been the licensee of the Black Lion Inn for about 35 years, said yesterday that even he knew nothing more than rumours about the fate of the West Darling.
The only established facts are that the place is shut and that its darts and 8-ball teams have shifted to the Black Lion.
Bruce Welburn, the Alma Hotel’s licensee, said that as far as he knew, the rumour was true and that the West Darling was closed for renovations.
“But the big question is whether it will reopen as a hotel,” Mr Welburn said.
The pub is thought to have closed on the night of Saturday, March 29. There are no signs or notices on the doors or windows to say the pub is shut.
The BDT has sought comment from the licensee, Kevin Hine, and Mr Radford.
The manner of the hotel’s apparent demise revived memories of the time another of the city’s oldest hotels, the Pig and Whistle, closed without notice on Christmas Eve, 2003.
Its licence ended up at an “Irish” bar in Tuggerah, NSW.