1. Merewether Beach Hotel, Newcastle sells for $40m

A large Newcastle hotel overlooking the waterfront at Merewether Beach has sold for about $40 million.  Investor Glenn Piper has snapped up the Merewether Beach pub to add to his recently refurbished Harbord Hotel at Freshwater, affectionately known as the Harbord Hilton, and leasehold of Q Station on Manly’s North Head, both on Sydney’s northern beaches.

For Novocastrians, the Beach pub is a central meeting place. It sits on an expansive multi-level corner site of about1850 square metres and has uninterrupted and panoramic views of the ocean.

“The Beach Hotel is a truly magnificent property with one of the best pub views in the country,” Piper said. “It has been part of the community since the 1880s, so I feel humbled and excited by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take it on.

“My family who live in Newcastle were actually the ones who told me the pub was on the market. They will be coming on board as investors, which makes the sale even more special.”


2. Bill Young sells Friend in Hand hotel

Former Wallabies front rower Bill Young has sold popular Glebe watering hole the Friend in Hand hotel for an estimated price of $11 million to the private Momento Hospitality group as deals in the pub sector steam ahead.

It comes only two years after the Young family bought the pub in Sydney’s inner west back from long-term owners the Byrne family for about $10 million and undertook some renovations, only to get hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic which forced hospitality venues to shut down.

Bill Young bought the Glebe hotel before his family’s acquisition of the Illinois Hotel in Five Dock and the Royal Hotel in Ryde in Sydney last year. Tapping into the current pub deal frenzy, he chose to sell the Friend in Hand to focus on the two other pubs. The family had previously owned and operated the Friend in Hand during the 1980s and into the1990s.

For the purchaser Momento Hospitality, it will add to its portfolio of large-format hotels predominantly situated within the North-West growth corridor of Sydney. The group’s chief executive Marcello Colosimo said last year he had plans to expand the empire that comprises the Bella Vista Hotel in the Hills District, the Governor in Macquarie Park and the Duke of Dural.


3. Melbourne’s John Curtin Hotel to be protected from demolition with historic green ban

The John Curtin Hotel, an iconic Melbourne watering hole and music venue – famously beloved by former Prime Minister Bob Hawke – is set to be protected from demolition by a green ban from the Building Industry Group (BIG).

The Curtin’s closure was announced back in February, when the 150-year-old building was sold to offshore developers. In a post shared to the venue’s Facebook page, owners said the building was most likely destined to be demolished for property development, with their lease expiring in November.

In a statement shared with the news, Nicholas Reece – Deputy Lord Mayor for the City of Melbourne – said: “It is so important that we protect our heritage pubs and live music venues – not just because they are important heritage buildings, but because of their irreplaceable social and cultural value.”

Reece went on to say that his board has “endorsed interim ‘significant’ heritage protection for The Curtin Hotel, to help ensure it receives the strongest possible level of protection in any redevelopment application”. The venue’s new owners will still be allowed to submit proposals for redevelopment of its site, but these, Reece said, “will be considered extremely carefully by Councillors”.


4. Burleigh Town Tavern Undergoing $4.5 million Renovation

Local Gold Coast pub, Burleigh Town Tavern, is undergoing a major $4.5 million renovation. The entire venue is undergoing a transformation that will also see the footprint expanded and the pub re-opening later this year under a new name, Burleigh Town Hotel.

A revitalised open-plan family bistro will feature a menu of Queensland produce, pub classics and share plates. On weekends and pop-ups events, guests will be invited to enjoy delicious smoked and woodfired grill dishes from the outdoor smoker & grill.

To enjoy the Gold Coast weather, the beer garden will be expanded to offer epic outdoor dining and drinking for everyone across two areas, with one area focussed on families with a kids play area.

Entertainment will lie at the heart of the pub, and it will become a major venue for live entertainment in the area with a stage and band room to host touring acts.

“Burleigh Town Tavern was due a refresh but we wanted to make the pub the best in the area, for both locals and visitors,” says Australian Venue Co COO Craig Ellison.

The new-look Burleigh Town Hotel will cater for up to 1500 customers.