Newcastle Bar Sells as Pub Deals Keep Flowing


A newly renovated venue has changed hands in a NSW waterfront entertainment hotspot as the frothy appetite continues for hotel and hospitality assets.

Honeysuckle Social, a popular food and beverage outlet in Newcastle, has been acquired as a freehold going concern by Sydney hotel operator Roman Nalywajko.

It is his first hospitality play after a longstanding role as general manager and licensee of Hotel Pennant Hills on Sydney’s upper north shore.

The venue has a 450sq m trading footprint within the Honeysuckle waterfront entertainment precinct, one of Newcastle’s largest urban renewal projects.

Surrounded by a mix of commercial and residential property, a significant pipeline of development is still under way in the precinct.

The sale price has not been disclosed but industry sources said similar strata commercial space along the Honeysuckle strip were fetching $7500 to $8000 a square metre.

Honeysuckle Social’s weekly revenue was spruiked as more than $55,000 under Covid trading restrictions when it was put on the block this year.

With an additional 1000-plus apartments nearing completion with a 2km radius of the venue, the turnover is forecast to increase.

The venue was built 10 years ago, trading as the first James Squire brew bar before being rebranded two years ago.

Its sale follows a string of other transactions in the area, including Lake Macquarie Tavern ($33 million) at Mount Hutton, Orana Hotel ($13 million) in Blacksmiths, Imperial Hotel ($18.5 million) at Singleton, Newcastle’s historic Lucky Hotel ($20 million) and the Duke of Wellington Hotel ($16 million) in New Lambton.

In a statement, Nalywajko said he and wife Alyssa were excited to secure the new venture.

“We absolutely love the space and very much look forward to serving the Honeysuckle and greater Newcastle community,” he said.

“We have been looking for a business to call our own for a long time, so it’s incredibly satisfying to have finally found it.”

The deal was brokered by JLL Hotels and Hospitality Group’s Kate MacDonald and Ben McDonald.

“In a post-Covid world, talented operators are moving outside the major cities to put their mark on the regions,” MacDonald said.

▲ Newcastle’s historic Lucky Hotel, about a 10min walk from the Honeysuckle, recently changed hands for $20 million.

“Often these moves do not involve gaming, especially if the location is coastal, and the thirst for F&B [food and beverage] is at a peak.”

The strong demand for hotel and hospitality assets has spread across city, coastal and country areas and its momentum is showing no signs of slowing.

In another recent deal, Minskys Hotel—a late-night watering hole at Cremorne on Sydney’s lower north shore—changed hands for the first time in nearly two decades for $39 million.

Former Sydney lord mayor Nelson Meers paid a record $160 million for the Crossroads Hotel in Casula in Sydney’s south-west.

Other deals have included the landmark Pendle Inn Hotel ($75 million) in western Sydney, Amble Inn at Corindi Beach ($12 million), New Ivanhoe Hotel at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains ($6 million), Globe Hotel at Deniliquin ($6 million) and the Post Office Hotel at Gulgong ($5 million).

Last year, there were $1.427 billion worth of pub sales in NSW—up almost 144 per cent on 2020.

In Victoria, AFL’s Hawthorn Football Club has recently scored a record-breaking win off the field, pocketing $85 million from the sale of the WestWaters Hotel & Entertainment Complex in Melbourne.

Acquired by Sydney-based Oscars Hotel Group, the transaction is Victoria’s highest recorded pub sale, trumping last year’s $54.5 million deal for Bendigo’s All Seasons Hotel secured by NSW-based Redcape Hotel Group.


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