29 January, 2020

Legendary WA publican Sonja Gastevich reveals the secrets to her success

Legendary WA publican Sonja Gastevich reveals the secrets to her success

Pub icon Sonja Gastevich was the inspirational guest speaker at Women in Drinks Western Australia's latest event.

Gastevich discussed ‘Building a Legacy’ - it is widely recognised that her influence created the ‘bistro theme’ still current in the WA market's suburban pubs.

The networking breakfast was attended by 84 WA industry persons including the Honourable Kate Doust and key members of the LSA of WA and the AHA, wholesalers ALM and Liquid Mix, together with many others from all companies within the WA drinks industry. 

Held on March 8, it was the first International Women’s Day event for Women in Drinks WA. 

“A full house turned out to The Stables Bar and Bistro to hear from a legend of our Industry Sonja Gastevich on how she has achieved such success and built an incredible legacy for her family," said Women in Drinks Councilllor Kat Dehavilland.

"There were current and previous employees, suppliers from all categories and her nearest and dearest family who laughed and at times also shed a tear while hearing about Sonja’s 60-year journey within the drinks industry."

A Croatian migrant, Gastevich arrived in Australia at the age of 16 without a cent to her name. Prolific in her attention to detail, she runs an empire of five Perth pubs, all of which she has designed, built and opened. 

Gastevich began her career in the far South West, taking on her first hotel in 1970. At 20, she opened her first restaurant in the wheat belt town of Narrogin and then build the Overlander Hotel in Manjimup. She then set her sights on Perth, taking over the lease of the Whitfords tavern. 

The mother of three children and grandmother to eight continues to work seven days a week, often for 12 hours a day. Her portfolio includes The Royal in East Perth, The Kingsley Tavern, The Old Bailey in Joondalup, The Kingsway Bar and Bistro, The Currambine Bar and Bistro, with her latest venture, The Stirling Cross. 

Gastevich revealed to Women in Drinks attendees how she has broken down barriers to become a successful business woman and WA AHA Hall of Fame member. She shared insights on resilience, perseverance, achieving commercial success and creating a legacy for others.

"Motivated by old-school customer service and values her key message to all of us in the room was to surround yourself with like minded people and stay true to your beliefs," Dehavilland concluded. "Motivation, hard work and strong values will always in Sonja’s experience lead you to success.”