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Clare Valley’s historic Watervale Hotel is reopening with a glorious new look

After undergoing an extensive revamp, one of the Clare Valley region’s oldest pubs is finally set to reopen.

Images by Dougal McFuzzlebutt

The Watervale Hotel, one of the oldest pubs in the Clare Valley region, has revealed its extensive revamp.

The Watervale Hotel was founded 1847, eleven years after South Australia’s proclamation, and is currently owned by husband and wife duo, Warrick Duthy and Nicola Palmer.

Nicola isn’t the first woman to be at the helm of The Watervale, as women have remained an important part of the pub’s success throughout its 150-year history.

One of these women was Esther Greenslade, who built the jail out the back of the hotel, and changed the name from the Stanley Arms, to the Watervale Hotel in 1868.

Helen Forbes completely rebuilt the stone hotel on the original foundations, after a devastating fire in 1913.

Now, Nicola continues that legacy, overseeing much of the hotel’s operations.

Having closed to the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the pub’s owners used their downtime to give the hotel a complete makeover.

Changing everything from the decor to the menu, The Watervale Hotel’s new look very much focuses on sustainability.

Much of the produce on the hotel’s new menu is sourced from the owner’s own farm, Penobscot Farms, and other local suppliers from the Clare Valley region, chosen based on their ethics and practices.

“Penobscot Farm is the hero of The Watervale Hotel kitchen. Nicola and I live on the farm. It is organic, bio-dynamic, and follows permaculture design principles,” says Warrick.

The hotel also reuses almost all of their waste, using organics as compost, meat scraps as dog food, and cardboard as a weed mat.

The Watervale even repurposes its cooking oil by using it to make soap.

“Our ethics don’t start and stop at the farm. Our war on waste and desire to support ethical suppliers permeate everything we do, from buying ‘Who gives a crap’ toilet paper and Mr Rye (real rye staw) drinking straws to composting all waste,” says Warrick.

“Ethics are no excuse for poor food though – we aim to show why ethically sourced food tastes better.”

You won’t find the typical pub mainstays like schnitzel and fish and chips at The Watervale, instead, you’ll find an extensive menu that combines flavours from all around the world.

Some of the highlights of The Watervale hotel includes their mouthwatering-sounding duck sliders, pork and chive dumplings, polenta crust chicken breast, and much more.

Another notable feature of The Watervale’s new look is their intimate new dining experience, which includes private dining rooms and comfortable lounge spaces that you can dine at.

They will also be offering a Chef’s Table experience which allows you to dine on the kitchen pass, however, sadly this experience will not be available until COVID-19 restrictions are eased.

Set to reopen Tuesday, September 1, immerse yourself in The Watervale Hotel’s farm to table dining experience by booking online or calling 08 8843 0229.

The Watervale Hotel is located at 37 Main North Road, Watervale 5452.

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