It was the changing of the guard at Royal Hotel on Thursday with hoteliers from Dubbo taking the reins.
Nick McKechnie and Nelson Kelly purchased the pub from the Irvin Hotel Group and collected the keys from long-time operator Tony McClure.
The transaction clocked the eighth Central West hotel for the business partners, who both say pubs are in their blood.
As the current owners of Federation Hotels in Mudgee and Wellington, the Castlereagh Hotel and Western Star in Dubbo, the Edinburgh Castle and Dudley Hotel in Bathurst, as well as the Coachman Hotel in Parkes, it's fitting that the next pub to join their stable would be in Orange.
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"Orange has some of the best pubs that we've seen in the region," Mr McKechnie said. "We thought the Royal was one of them before we purchased it. Now we've got to take the time to figure out where we fit in."
While the exterior received a fresh coat of paint earlier this year, its new owners say a "tidy up" of accommodation mightn't be too far off.
The question of continuing the weekend cover charge had also come up, but a verdict was yet to be reached.
"We still plan to be an early opener and a late closer," Mr McKechnie said. "We'll poke along until after Christmas and then decide what needs to be changed."
Pub visitors can expect to see the new owners "hopefully on both sides of the bar" over the next few weeks while they get to know their latest acquisition and its regulars.
By the end of the month, Brett and Peta Cohen will have arrived from north Queensland to take over the job of running the place.
Mr Cohen was originally from Sydney and Mrs Cohen from Bathurst.
The husband and wife will take over management of the Royal and its more than 30 employees, with Orange resident Carmel Wilkins as their next in charge.
Mr McKechnie said about 80 per cent of staff will stay working at the Royal.
He said the Cohens seemed the right fit to make their vision work, which was for somewhere serving good meals which supported community sport and events.
"They're food focused, friendly and interested in sports. That's what we liked about them," he said.
"All of our pubs have good meals at a reasonable price. They're pubs for punters and families. We don't focus on one area, we want to make sure there's something for everyone."
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