5 YEARS: How iconic, cherished bar got started
IT'S A love story for the ages, and one that includes the entire Airlie Beach community.
The beloved Anchor Bar celebrated five years in business this week, and owners Leah McMillan and Josh Knutson are excited to have reached such an incredible milestone.
The bar is one of the best spots for a Sunday sipper, as diners drink in the mind-blowing sunsets over the coral sea.
The business blossomed along with the couple who met just over five years ago in Airlie Beach.
Mr Knutson was working in construction at the time, and his contract was coming to an end.
"I was going to be transferred to another location, but we met, and I decided to stay and so resigned," he said.
Back then Ms McMillan had a serious case of wanderlust and had been travelling for about three years.
She was lured to the Whitsundays for dive training.
The day the pair decided to embark on the on the journey of Anchor Bar is clearly ingrained in Mr Knutson's memory.
"It was pretty simple, she just said, 'we should buy that little bar on the hill,' and I said, 'yeah let's do it'."
The seed was sewn, and Anchor Bar has lodged its roots deep into the hill.
"It's just grown organically. Families have really taken to it, and now we've got a great front of house and back of house team."
Two prominent chefs have commanded the kitchen, with one of the chef's being the first in the region to be awarded a chef's hat.
Mr Knutson said both himself and Ms McMillan continue to be overwhelmed by the support of the community, especially through Tropical Cyclone Debbie, and a small fire last year, which put them out of action for two months.