Middleton Tavern celebrating 20 years ownership by Mack family

It was in 1997 that Garry and Vicki Mack took on the challenge of providing an affordable, relaxing and comfortable place for families and visitors to eat, drink and feel at home.

This place was to be the Middleton Tavern. 20 years on, the family feel that they have well and truly achieved that goal, and are getting set to celebrate the significant anniversary with the local community.

It was on September 1, 1997 that the family purchased the Tavern and set about making their dreams a reality. The Tavern had originally opened in December of 1991, but Garry and Vicki were keen to make the hotel a place that Middleton could be proud of.

“You only have to walk through the front doors now to see that the values our family desired 20 years ago are still prevalent today,” said Nigel Mack, son of Garry and Vicki and the Tavern’s manager.

“The presence of our knowledgeable staff, well presented areas, an open relaxing bistro, a private function room all contribute to the welcome feeling, while the fact you can always take in some of the ocean views definitely helps.”

Over the past 20 years there have been many renovations and additions to the Middleton Tavern, all of which have been undertaken by local businesses.

Just recently the Middleton Tavern has recently undergone some landscaping, making it a more open, safe and street friendly venue. There are further plans to enhance and develop the Middleton Tavern, which all of the staff and owners are excited about.

“One of the more interesting things about the Tavern is the large display of original nautical and whaling artifacts throughout the bistro,” Nigel explained.

“These were collected by Vicki’s mother and late father, Rosalie and Dennis Harding.

“Several items have also been loaned to the SA Maritime Museum for feature displays.”

The walls of the bistro also host a collection of historical photos of Middleton, while the bar exhibits a collection of sporting memorabilia, some longboards and the famous Coopers Boat in the rafters.

Another addition was the Whale Mural on the side of the bottle-shop. It has seen many locals and tourists stop for a photo and has now become a local landmark.

The Middleton Tavern supports many of the local clubs, sporting groups and charities in the area through donations and sponsorship. These include being a major sponsor of the Goolwa Port Elliot Football Club, the Port Elliot Cricket Club, the Port Elliot Netball Club and the Great Southern 8 Ball Association among many others.

Family connection

Family has always been central to the way the Middleton Tavern operates. 

With the Mack family being a large one itself, the idea of a place where mum and dad could bring the kids to eat, or where families could gather over a meal or a drink was always important.

Not only has the idea of family been a driving force behind the values of the Tavern, many of the Mack family have also worked there. Garry and Vicki’s three children Nigel, Belinda and Sarah have always been a big part of the Middleton Tavern.

And like the Tavern the Mack family has grown over the last 20 years. Nigel and his wife Sarah have two children, Evie and Hannah. Belinda and her husband Brad have four children, Tiani-Rose, Keane, Layne and Flynn and Sarah and her husband Travis also have two children, Mia and Brodie. 

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Nigel has been working at the hotel for all of the past 20 years. He started when he was 17 years old, before studying a Diploma of Business and now overseeing the day-to-day operations as manager. Nigel’s wife Sarah also works there occasionally, helping out when needed. 

Belinda has been a familiar face at the Middleton Tavern over the past 20 years, working in the bistro while at school before going on to join full time. Belinda’s husband Brad also works full time behind the bar and in the bottle shop.

The youngest daughter, Sarah, also worked at the Middleton Tavern in the bistro while at school, and is now a fully qualified beauty therapist with her own successful beauty salon - Pure Elegance Beauty in Middleton.

The family saw it as a real challenge to take on the Middleton Tavern, but have turned it into the successful business it is today. 

It is a focal point of the Middleton and Fleurieu Peninsula communities, employing over 30 local staff members. 

When they took over the Tavern, Garry and Vicki hired Mark Moyle as a full-time employee, along with a few casual staff to start on their first day. After 20 years of loyal service you will still find Mark’s friendly face serving you in the bar or the bottle shop today. 

The Mack family wanted to thank all of their past and present employees for their hard work in helping the business grow.

A special thank you

The Mack family have thoroughly enjoyed the past 20 years and would like to thank the many wonderful patrons they have served along the way.

According to manager Nigel, this week is all about celebrating the Tavern’s 20th anniversary with the local community. 

“Running until September 1 you will find $5 drink specials in the Bar including all pints of the beers and ciders we have on tap, all spirits with mix, all stubbies of beer and all wines by the glass,” he said.

“The Friday night raffle prizes will be doubled this week plus there will be 20 extra prizes given away throughout the night.”

The Tavern will also have all of their usual nightly specials running in the front bar and bistro.

Another great anniversary bonus is that over the week, if you purchase a main meal in the bistro or spend more than $50 in the bottle shop you will be entered into the major draw to win a 50” TV, a Weber Q or a $300 Flight Centre voucher, plus the chance to win one of many minor prizes. 

The major draw will be held at 8.30pm on September 1, then from 9pm Ryan Sheridan Acoustic will be playing until late. Make sure you come in and help celebrate the occasion.

Garry, Vicki and the rest of the family say they are looking forward to many more years of servicing the Fleurieu Peninsula.