THE historic Five Flags Hotel at Campbells Creek has been passed in at auction.
Bidding for the venue, which includes a TAB, bistro, beer garden and bottle shop, opened at $1 million, but failed to attract a bidder on Thursday.
Yet owner Mick Kehoe said he was not disappointed.
“It’s just that there was no interest, really,” he said.
“There was some interest, but no-one put their hand up.”
Mr Kehoe, who owns the venue with wife Jeannie, said he would consider other avenues to sell the premises.
“I just think we’ll see if there are any other offers coming in,” he said.
“If not, we’ll reassess.
“I may lease the place or just stay on and keep working.
“I’d like to get out and retire.
“But you’ve got to find a buyer.”
Mr Kehoe, 58, has been in the hospitality industry for 30 years and said it was time for a change.
“A lot of people in the community are saying they don’t want us to sell,” he said.
“They don’t want us to go.
“Unfortunately the pubs aren’t really in demand as far as real estate goes.
“I think the biggest thing with hotels at the moment is because you’ve got to work 14 or 16 hours a day, people are looking more at lifestyle rather than working seven days a week.”
Patrons at the venue are keen to keep the venue unchanged, Mr Kehoe said.
“I don’t think the people around here want any change at all,” he said.
“I think they’re happy with it the way it is.”
The pub opened in 1855 and features a distinct yellow exterior.
Real estate agents Burgess Rawson conducted the auction, which was attended by about 30 people.
Both the freehold and business were for sale.
Agent Terry Board said in April he expected the pub to fetch about $1.5 million.
The 3,300 square metre site is held in two titles, both of which are listed for sale.
The close proximity of the Main Road pub to Melbourne and the "thriving" location are listed as selling points.
The business has a listed annual turnover of $1.3 million and is covered by a heritage overlay.
Mr Kehoe said he had planned to retire once the property was sold, but said he was not concerned that it had been passed in.