In On the Market by Clyde MooneyLeave a Comment

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One of Hobart’s favourite old watering holes has come to market amid partnership dispute, bringing approved DAs, and history of live music and solid trade.

The iconic Republic Bar & Cafe first poured drinks as Rose Hotel House, back in 1831.

Over the course of time it became the Rose & Crown, before major remodelling in Art Deco styling at its centenary in 1931 saw rebranding to the Empire Hotel. This name remained until the mid-90s when it took on its current moniker.

In 2010 a partnership of seven investors bought the old pub for just north of $1 million, and for almost a decade it has operated entirely under management.

A dispute in the partnership now sees the asset to market, with appointment of Knight Frank’s John Blacklow and McDevitt Property’s Joe McDevitt.

The pub is located a kilometre north of the Hobart CBD, on a 724sqm block on Elizabeth Street – a precinct of restaurants, cafes, theatre and galleries akin to Melbourne’s Lygon Street.

The Republic offers a main bar with entertainment and dining areas, and a large open courtyard with canvas awnings. On the first floor is a function room with its own bar, plus a board room.

Annual revenue across departments is reported at circa $3m, with plans in place to further build on the current facilities.

There are DAs approved for improvement to the courtyard, and for a new deck on the first floor.

Also, the Republic’s nearest competitor – the Waratah Hotel, 400 metres away – was just purchased by the State Government to build housing, and will be soon be closed.

The pub has long been an institution for live music, hosting pub rock bands, international DJs and hip-hop acts over the past two decades.

Marketed as the “No.1 entertainment venue in Tasmania”, it holds appeal as a passive investment, but clear blue sky for a hands-on operator.

“The new management team – from February this year – are very good, so the pub could easily operate under management by a new purchaser,” suggests Blacklow.

“However, it is ideally suited to a working partnership.”

The freehold going concern of the Republic Bar & Café is being sold via Expressions of Interest, closing Thursday, 10 October.

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