In Property by Clyde Mooney

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One of Sydney’s most popular craft beer haunts has been sold by the purveyors of Good Beer.

The Good Beer Company has operated sister venues the Dove & Olive and the Keg & Brew, both in Surry Hills, for the past several years, developing them into the quintessential beer meccas.

In September 2015, Good Beer Co (GBC) went to the DOGs, purchasing Randwick’s sprawling Duke of Gloucester (DOG) Hotel with plans to ramp up the beer cheer within a large suburban pub boasting 50 taps.

In the latter half of 2016 GBC determined to divest the crafty Dove to focus on synergies between the DOG and the Keg, offering the pub to a market thirsty for opportunity. The thriving two-level hotel holds 12 PMEs, a beer garden and terrace, and potential for a rooftop bar (STCA).

A new pub group formed out of the Murphy family’s SOS Hospitality has now swooped on the Dove, picking up the freehold going concern for $11.85 million with hope for a “hands-on” approach.

“I’m taking over as licensee with a partner,” new owner Rod Taber told PubTIC.

“Together, over time, with a hands-on approach, we hope to see what I can bring to the table as an extra.”

Taber has worked with SOS for the past seven years at plenty of Sydney institutions, such as the Steyne, Kinselas and Cock n Bull. The recent sale of the group’s Lalor Park Hotel to Lewis Hotels, and Shaughn Murphy’s move away from the industry, led to a partnership between his sister, Sonja Murphy, husband Chris Deal, and Taber.

The Dove was transacted through JLL Hotels’ national director John Musca, who says it holds a strong reputation as one of the best in the best area.

“Surry Hills has become the city-fringe precinct of choice for Sydney’s premier hospitality operators, with residential density combining with the uplift anticipated from the soon-to-be completed light rail driving continued hotel interest – as seen in the sale of the Columbian Hotel, Gaslight Hotel, Trinity Bar and now the Dove & Olive.”

“The Dove & Olive has become an institution in this rapidly gentrifying and densely populated area.”

Taber believes the current cost of finance is set to continue for at least five more years, which coupled with a 10-plus per cent return adds up to a good buy from GBC, but the new group, DAOH, will be easing into the operation.

“Conditions are right, and if you look you can still find a pub with good returns that gives you a great benefit. [But] first thing is to get in there and work it, get to know the pub at a grass roots level.

“We are keeping all the staff and initially not changing a thing. Let’s face it – there’s a reason the market viewed the Dove & Olive as fully potentialised, and that’s because it has hit the mark with the locals and is very successful … I’d be silly to walk in and change anything.”