Old Hepburn Hotel to close in less than two weeks

THE REGION is set to lose a much-loved live music venue when the Old Hepburn Hotel closes its doors later this month.

GOODBYE: The Old Hepburn Hotel's proprietor Amber Dooley inside the pub she has run for 16 years. Photo: Lachlan Bence

GOODBYE: The Old Hepburn Hotel's proprietor Amber Dooley inside the pub she has run for 16 years. Photo: Lachlan Bence

The pub has been an icon in Hepburn since the 1850s. The original building burnt down in a bushfire in 1906 but was rebuilt in 1912.

The venue was a humble venue when Amber and Jason Dooley took over 16 years ago and gave it a completely fresh look.

"It was just a pokey little bar with a ladies lounge and separate rooms so we opened it all up and turned it into a live music venue," Ms Dooley said.

"When we were doing the renovations we found boards in the walls that the builders had signed when they rebuilt it."

She said she had put everything into the business but now wanted to focus on her family.

PUB: The Old Hepburn Hotel. Photo: Lachlan Bence

PUB: The Old Hepburn Hotel. Photo: Lachlan Bence

"We decided we needed a change because we have been here for 16 years. I have three kids that I want to watch grow up," she said. "It is a huge amount of work to run the venue and organise all the acts."

Her brother Jason Dooley helped to put the pub on the map by bringing in big name acts like the Black Sorrows, Beccy Cole, Mia Dyson, Monique Brumby and Les Stringer.

"My brother was here with me for 11 years. Jason brought lots of acts and started getting some big names through the doors which kicked us off as a live music venue," she said.

A number of famous faces have also visited the venue, including Kasey Chambers, who went in to watch a gig and ended up on stage. 

"There are lots of good stories to tell," Ms Dooley said.

A historical photo of the hotel.

A historical photo of the hotel.

Ms Dooley said she would miss being the bar's proprietor.

"I will really miss all of the locals - they have become family. They are such a cool group of people that have supported us always so I will really miss them. I will miss all the musicians and the dart players on a Thursday night too."

The freehold on the building has been sold but it is not known what will happen to the venue.

The pub will host a number of events for the upcoming ChillOut festival, which Ms Dooley said was their "biggest, hardest yet best weekend of the year".

"Our staff from over the years all come back on ChillOut weekends so they can be around the pub and help out. We all love the event so much."

The last day of trade will be March 17.