The venue that does it all, how the Stag has evolved into a community hub
You’ve probably heard of it. You may have visited it— dropped in for an afternoon bevy, a night of trivia, or watched a gig.
Or perhaps you’ve seen it while driving past, understated yet sitting proudly amid the hustle and bustle of Maitland Road.
Presenting a mainstay of Newcastle that welcomes all walks of life and infuses Mayfield with the vibrancy and life it’s known for: The Stag and Hunter!
Owned and run by publicans Alan and Helen Moyle, of Moyle Family Hotels, since 1998, what the Stag has managed to do throughout its history, better than most, is retain its traditional pub aesthetic yet still remain relevant in this world of crisp and new.
In 2003 management of The Stag was passed down through the family to daughter Kim Starkey, who together with her husband Mick have continued the family legacy. It's been this new chapter of the pub's history which has seen Mick's love for music shine, and instrumental in helping emerging musicians find their feet, as well as bringing some of the biggest names in the muso business to its intimate stage.
While its live music scene has become a celebrated aspect of what the Stag does, the hotel forms its identity from the full range of their offerings.
“The original live music we host here, and the bands we get in to play have, over time, made the Stag a bit of a cultural hub. It’s what we’re known for, but we’re so much more than just our music,” says Kim.
One aspect of the hotel you may not be as familiar with, but should be, is the pub's dining scene. Best described as a traditional pub menu you can expect all the usual suspects - burgers, pasta, schnitzels, pizza, and fish and chips.
The hotel's expansive area offers a mix of dining spaces that cater to all occasions. For quick and casual eats the Sports Bar and Beer Garden offer the right vibes, for those looking for something a little more intimate, head into the dining room where you can not only dine in style but can take in all the history and charm of the hotel.
The menu is extensive ensuring there's a dish to appease all flavours and dietary requirements. What you'll also find is Kim and Mick's generous spirit reflected in the menu, with all the meals being substantial in size to say the least.
Special mention going out to the Lamb Shoulder to Share, served with char grilled broccolini, heirloom carrots, and creamy mash, be warned you'll need to bring your appetite and plus 1 to get through this one.
Generosity and caring for the community they exist in is as always as the forefront of Kim and Mick's business decisions,
“We've always supported the community — we proudly sponsor a range of traditional sports teams, we do trivia on Tuesdays, a meat raffle twice weekly, Joker poker and a few left of field sponsorships.
"We’re the main sponsor for the Newcastle Roller Derby, and we’re just about to sponsor the Newcastle Chamber Orchestra Choir as they gear up to travel to Korea! We really are that community hotel in the corner of Mayfield who do a bit of everything,” says Mick.
If the extensive food offerings, music, diversity of beers on tap, and range of other events haven’t already sold you on the Stag, then the physical building space certainly will.
“Heritage is important to us,” says Mick.
Everything about the Stag is grand. Its original staircase and ceiling add to its rustic charm and tiles uncovered in the process of reconstructing the flooring, have been recovered and reused.
“People ask us what we’ve done to get this look and feel in the place. They ask us how we’ve recreated that charming wear and tear, but we haven’t! Elements of the space, like the ceiling, were covered up and we’ve uncovered them to add to the space’s authenticity, but that’s it!” says Kim.
Mick and Kim are proud of what they do, of their staff, and of the support they’re able to show their local community, through a range of initiatives and by offering musicians a space to establish themselves.
“We give plenty of young kids a run, and there’ve been some amazing bands who’ve played here before going on to bigger and better things,” says Mick.
“Every Monday we host ‘Temple of The Stag’ – typically a muso’s night off. We are lucky to have some incredible musicians taking to the stage, performing and sharing their skills outside of their official scheduled gigs.”
In this way, the Stag is a community hub with offerings to cater to every demographic. It’s a typical, traditional, Aussie-style pub where everyone’s welcome.
“I had a customer say to me the other night, ‘Mick, if you ever do anything to ruin this pub, I’m leaving Mayfield. You’re the only reason I live here’”, Mick tells us, laughing.
Suffice to say, the Stag breathes life into Mayfield’s lungs, and has, over many years, become a celebrated cornerstone of Newcastle’s hospitality and entertainment scene. Head on down to see what all the hype’s about!