In Our Pub by Clyde Mooney

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Mitchell Waugh’s Public House Group has listed the famous Four in Hand for alternative uses, looking to transfer the pub licence and gaming and capitalise on the building’s potential.

Public House Group (PHG) purchased the formerly two-hatted gastro pub from Joe Saleh in late 2015, long-standing celebrity chef Colin Fassnidge making way for the Group’s new culinary ambassador Guillaume Brahimi.

The $8m acquisition of the Four made a hattrick in the precinct for PHG, having recently bought both the Royal Paddington for $15m in July, and the Woollahra Hotel for $30m in October 2015.

After refreshing the Woollahra and launching a satellite installation of its legendary Bistro Moncur at The Buena in Mosman, PHG opened revised offering The Grill at the Four in Hand – a pub known for its Sunday roasts and Fassnidge’s pioneering nose-to-tail cooking.

One of Sydney’s highest median price suburbs, Paddington is a unique juxtaposition of the decadent 50s and 60s turned wealthy bohemian. The Four in Hand is not the first pub to pass relevance in the upper socio-economic area, Paddington’s former Windsor Castle previously converted to a private home, selling in 2015 for $11.85m.

As a pub, the Four is poorly positioned ten blocks off the main road, with little or no passing traffic. It holds a heritage façade, hotel licence and six gaming machines.

As a potential residence it offers a two-storey building with local history and appeal, and 700sqm internally in the current layout.

The licence and EGMs, with a collective value circa $1.5m, are to be transferred to another venue, as yet unspecified.

Unlicensed, the property is zoned R2, allowing for low-density residential use. While it may be possible to redevelop behind the façade, local interest groups have already tipped they won’t make approval easy.

Also unhappy is the pub’s former hero. Fassnidge told the Daily Telegraph he thought the decision to sell it as a residence was a “disgrace”, accusing PHG of turning “a Ferrari … into a Morris Minor”.

PHG has listed the pub with Gavin Rubinstein of Ray White Double Bay, with an asking price of $6m.

PubTIC was unable to reach Mitchell Waugh for comment in time for publication.