Time flies when you’re having fun!
2017 marks the 40th anniversary of when the Bayfield Hotel Group was launched, with the Bayfield family taking over Dee Why Hotel on the 27th March 2017. Over the past 40 years, brothers Mark & Wayne Bayfield, along with their late father, Neville, expanded their pub portfolio, all while maintaining their family-run authenticity.
A Brief History
When digging into the Bayfield family history, there’s a reoccurring theme that runs deep through the family: Dee Why Hotel (affectionately referred to as ‘the pub’). There’s really no doubt about it, hospitality is in their blood. While this year marks the Bayfield Hotel Group’s 40th anniversary, we need to go back a little further to where it all began with Mark & Wayne’s late maternal Grandfather, Bill Wright, who spent his life working and managing pubs for over 50 years.
When Wayne finished school, his Grandfather Bill arranged a
casual job for him in a pub, and Wayne was instantly hooked. Around the same time, Neville’s professional life changed and he decided to invest in a hotel with Bill. Not long after, an opportunity came up to take on Dee Why Hotel. So on Wayne’s 19th birthday they took over the hotel and a short time later, Mark joined them in the business.
Despite the success and growth of the business, Neville always put his family first. “Our dad lived his life for his family, and being publicans, having family work in the business was very important,” said Wayne. “We have been very fortunate that mum, dad, Mark, Yvonne, Sharon (Mark & Wayne’s wives) and myself have had a great relationship and can work together.” To this day, The Bayfield Hotel Group remains a tight-knit family, with many members currently working in the business.
Presently, the group boasts an impressive portfolio that includes Dee Why Hotel, Bayfields Liquor Superstore at Dee Why, Bayfields online and most recently, the purchase of The Light Brigade in Sydney’s eastern suburbs. They previously owned The Caringbah Hotel, The Belrose Hotel, The Sands, Newport Mirage and are known most famously for The Newport Arms, which they owned for a remarkable 24 years!
All About The Music
Dee Why Hotel soon became the forefront of the Northern Beaches night life. During the early 80s ‘The Glider Room’ and ‘Jade’s Place’ named after Wayne’s eldest daughter, became very popular among the locals. In the late 80s, it was
transformed into ‘The Venue’ and became Sydney’s hottest live-act venue, featuring the likes of INXS, Midnight Oil, Cold Chisel, Jimmy Barnes, John Farnham and many, many more.
Being a hands-on man, Wayne used to manage the music bookings and was always on the hunt for new talent. After a friend recommended a relatively unknown band called Moving Pictures, he could only offer them a Monday night spot. After continuously playing to a full house every Monday they naturally asked for more money. Not thinking it was worth the $500 investment, they were initially given the boot. The next time Moving Pictures played at Dee Why Hotel, it cost him $5,000!
During the 90s and naughties, ‘The Jet Club’ became the place to be as the Northern Beaches largest and most popular mega-nightclub. Crowds would line up around the street just to get in, and then party into the early hours of the morning. And all the while, Mister B’s Sports Bar, with its 28 TV screens and walls of endless sports memorabilia, satisfied the local sporting fanatics.
The End Of An Era
As the years ticked by and the live music landscape changed, it was time for Dee Why Hotel to adapt. In 2007, they closed their doors and underwent a three year multi-million-dollar development that included a new hotel and bottle shop, shopping centre, commercial offices and residential apartments.
In August, 2010, it was reborn into a vibrant, eclectic bar that focused on intimate live soloist performances, a stand-out brasserie menu and a buzzy bar experience. It was important that the new Dee Why Hotel maintained its heritage and authenticity. Today, the hotel is more famously known for the ‘beaches best burgers’, as well as having the biggest range of beers with over 100 different options to choose from. It’s a destination venue for sports fanatics who can always catch their favourite games live on the big screens.
Like Father Like Son
While he would never push any of his children to work in the business, Wayne’s son Kaine took the reins of Chief Operating Officer in 2016. Not only was Kaine born whilst the family lived above the Dee Why Hotel, he’s also come a long way since pushing trolleys at Liquor City when he was 8 years old.
“Kaine is a bit like me in that he really enjoys the pubs. Times have changed and he is well educated (much smarter than me) and the pub game has change dramatically in 40years. For our family, to have Kaine take the business forward makes me very proud.”
Part Of The Community
As well as decades of experience in hospitality, the Bayfield family are renowned for their immense community support. In addition to supporting local schools, sporting teams and hospitals, they have been a major sponsor of the Warringah Rugby club, contributing $2.2 million over the past 30 years.
For many years they ran the Pub 2 Pub, one of the biggest community events on the Northern Beaches, which started at Dee Why Hotel and ended at The Newport Arms. They are also proud to be a significant supporter of charitable groups such as the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia. In recent years, the Bayfield family have raised over $2.7 million to support this cause, which is very close to their hearts.
It has most certainly been a roller coaster journey for the Bayfield family and they couldn’t be more proud of what they have achieved over the past 40 years. “I feel like an old man because in 40 years there has been so much change in this industry. Having one of Sydney's
biggest entertainment venues in Sydney, but then having units built up around us, we were forced to change our business model.”
They have come a long way since 1977, as Wayne simply put it, “When I started we had 3 beers on tap now over 40, no TAB, no pokies, no entertainment, not even a ladies’ toilet in the public bar, just counter meals and a small drive-through bottle shop.”
“Proudly family-owned and operated on the Northern Beaches, we are honoured to be celebrating this milestone. We couldn’t have done it without our dedicated staff, and the ongoing loyalty and support from our customers, so we thank you.”
To help celebrate 40 years, not only will Bayfields be treating you to some nostalgic flash backs, they are also offering you the exclusive 1977 Pale Ale, available now, at Dee Why Hotel for a limited time. Bayfield Hotel Group will also be donating $1 from every glass to the Children's Cancer Institute Australia.