The Kospetas family’s Universal Hotels has consolidated its broadened appeal with a multi-million-dollar renovation of suburban landmark the Tempe Hotel.

A hotel was first established on the Princes Highway site in 1856, and the current two-storey brick building was constructed in the 1890s, holding a block of nearly 1,200sqm.

Keeping an enviable collection of hotels in the Sydney CBD, the family had recognised its future options were limited in the city and had been considering its expansion, seeing advantage in moving into more suburban pubs and focusing on food and family-friendly venues.

They diligently sought the right candidates and in early 2021 exchanged on the Tempe for around $10 million, taking the title from Tom and Ann Marie Ilievski, who had owned it for 27 years.

Universal took the keys and assumed operations in July 2021, during the second wave of lockdowns in NSW, with work to do.

“The venue was tired and in need of a major renovation to make it stand out amongst competitors,” explains Harris Kospetas, group CEO.

Patriarch Jim Kospetas grew up near and around Tempe, bringing a strong connection to the area and fuelling inspiration for greater things.

After a “lengthy” process of planning and design, in early 2023 they began works, beginning with a focus on core heritage features and restoring neglected areas of the building.

The plan was to create an environment that was attractive to families, sporting teams and locals of Tempe and the surrounding inner west suburbs.

The pub is centred around the public bar, branching to the commercial kitchen and a selection of dining and outdoor spaces. Upstairs there are 15 accommodation rooms, and below-ground is the cellar and storerooms.

On the menu is modern Australian fare with a Mediterranean influence, focused on sustainability, featuring the likes of lamb yeeros, grilled halloumi and prawn linguine.

Each week the kitchen will serve up promotional specials, and every Monday is ‘family’ night, where kids eat for free. 

Key to the new Tempe Hotel’s point of difference is the priority put on a quality food offering.

“We are focused on providing a venue that caters to all, with a large footprint showcasing a bistro dining area, multiple beer garden areas, sports bar and large screens,” furthers Harris.

“We were really motivated in taking the core features of the pub and highlighting them, to give the Tempe community the premium pub offering it was lacking.”

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