Armidale’s oldest licensed hotel, the Wicklow, is closing in lieu of a buyer, as winter and hard times set in.

Originally known as the Armidale Hotel, it was the first licensed establishment in the New England region, occupying a large 1,870sqm corner lot in Armidale’s central business district.

The two-storey brick structure holds a large public bar, commercial kitchen and well-appointed bistro, gaming room with 15 EGM entitlements, kids’ play room, and a large courtyard.

Former grain trader Wal Broun originally acquired the hotel in 2013 as an investment, having spent many nights there as a customer.

Earlier this year he took the opportunity when the latest lease expired to offer the freehold going concern interest, boasting five tenants generating around $108K in passive rental income, and further potential, with an asking price of $9.85 million.

Broun said he was “conflicted” over the sale of the old girl, suggesting at the time “I’d be making a very different decision now if I was 15 years younger”. 

But months further down the track, citing ‘difficult economic times’ and expectation things won’t improve before Spring, this week Broun confirmed a decision to close, on Saturday 22 June.

The pub took to social media offering punters closing down specials “to sell out our stock” spruiking discounts on selected bar drinks and takeaway.

“Please come and see us!!!!” read the Wicklow’s post.

The news forced popular local event Skeptics in the Pub to relocate its upcoming night – ironically on Cancel Culture – to the nearby Railway Hotel.

The sale campaign through LAWD’s Nick Butler, Michael Corcoran and George Berry is still active, with agents noting the large-format pub is favourably zoned for repurposing, enjoys strong passive retail income and holds 15 gaming entitlements.

Reportedly offers over $8 million will be considered.

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