Pubs & Clubs

Ep 32: Secrets on Ann

We chat with John Kurzok about launching Secrets on Ann, a popular nightclub in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley.
  • Podcasts

Ep 26: Eau di Vie Cocktail Bar

We chat to multi-award winning bar owner Greg Sanderson about how he launched Eau de Vie.
  • Podcasts

Ep 24: Los Barbudos Cuban Bar

We chat with Tom Ambroz from Los Barbudos, which recently won ‘Best New Bar 2014’ at Time Out's Melbourne Bar Awards.
  • Podcasts

Ep 23: Interview with Miss Pearls (Madame Brussels)

We sat down with the spirited Miss Pearls to talk about how Madame Brussels has become one of the most talked about bars in Melbourne.
  • Podcasts

5 Tips When Buying a Pub

Thinking about buying your own Pub? Here are 5 tips to help the whole process run smoothly.
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Thinking about buying your own Pub? Here are 5 tips to help the whole process run smoothly.


1) Get a mentor

Finding a mentor who has successfully started their own pub and is willing to offer you ongoing advice is one of the simplest ways to prove to a lender that you are focused on the success of your business. This helps when filing an application for finance. Loans aside though, a mentor is a great resource to field all of your questions. They also provide you with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes as well as your own. If you don't have someone happy to let you shadow them (and open enough to let you call them in the middle of the night) it may prove worthwhile joining an organisation like AHA so that you can build up relationships with other pub owners and managers.


2) Prove your experience

Whilst having a mentor helps when purchasing your first pub, it is also important that you have at least a little of your own experience to begin with. The first reason why this is important is that lenders are often unwilling to provide a loan to someone who doesn't have experience in or around pubs. Generally a lender likes to see that the borrower has at least 3 years experience. Secondly, pubs, like most hospitality venues, either flourish or fail and history proves that the chance of success is often directly linked with experience. As a pub owner you are going to have to roll up your sleeves at some point or another and, if you don't know how to take care of the little things, there is a good chance you are going to get in the way of your own success. The easiest way to prove this experience is through a detailed resume that highlights your work history and completed courses/certificates, and a business plan that illustrates your ability to determine cash flow forecasts and place in the market. 


3) Submit your loan application right the first time

In order to qualify for finance, you will need to prove to the prospective lender that you have sufficient equity and income to service the proposed pub loan.

How do I determine if I have sufficient equity and sufficient income?

Whilst this is the chief requirement, there are a number of other things that can help get your lender onside. These include: 

  • Business Plan – outlining cash flow forecasts, market competition and your business model
  • Resume - highlighting your experience working in and around pubs and listing 2 or 3 quality references
  • Credit History - proven history and detailed explanations of how you resolved any credit history issues
  • Bank Statements - yours and any other person who is to be involved in the purchase of the pub
  • Pay Slips - yours and any other person who is to be involved in the purchase of the pub

It is worth noting that it is important to submit your tender right the first time as lenders will often be quick to reject resubmissions. A specialist mortgage broker can help ensure that you present the most ideal submission to the lender the first time round. 


4) Don't rush

When you're looking to buy a good pub, the last thing you want to be in is a rush. It can often take months to find the right venue for the right price and due diligence (the detailed examination of potential purchase) often takes several weeks. Rushing due diligence is extremely risky as without a proper examination of the purchase you can easily be hit with expensive surprises further down the road. For all you know, the pub you are looking to purchase might not have a license to serve more than 100 people even though you could easily fit 300 in the space. Licenses are just the tip of the iceberg. You will also need to find out who the venue's current suppliers are, the business' financial history, details on all current contracts, employee records, assets, liabilities, lease agreements, equipment lists, council obligations... etc. In addition to due diligence, you will need to schedule time for organising your submission for finance and finding the right lender. If the lender gives the all clear it is also worth noting that it will only be 'subject to valuation', which can also take a number of days/weeks.


5) Get financial & legal advice

You don’t want to hear it, I know. Unfortunately, however, it is absolutely crucial. You don’t want to hear it because it sounds expensive but the reality is most initial consultations are free and the information an accountant, financial advisor and lawyer provide can often save you a lot of money down the track. An accountant can help you find tax breaks and set up your entity structure so that it is the most profitable for your situation. A lawyer can protect you from binding agreements and legal clauses often tied to purchases. All parties can help you make sense of your obligations as a business owner. 


For more tips, take a listen to our Podcast


And, grab a FREE copy of our consumer guide



Ep 7: Liquor Licensing

Liquor licensing lawyer, Darren Marx, offers advice on when to apply, expected wait times, types of licenses, restrictions and much more.
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Ep 5: Breaking into the Pub Market

Hospitality Accountant, Tim Stillwell, provides advice on pub buying in terms of entity structuring, lease clauses, asset protection and more.
  • Podcasts

Ep 2: Buying a Pub - Sales Broker Perspective

Pub Sales Broker, Pat Connolly, offers tips in terms of lease lengths, due diligence, rural vs city, leaseholds vs freehold and much more.
  • Podcasts

Pub Guide

Looking to purchase a pub? Here are 10 things we suggest every pub buyer considers before signing a contract.
  • Consumer Guides

Click to view.


Q&A: De Bortoli Winemaker

We sat down with Steve Webber from De Bortoli, Yarra Valley, to get some insight into a day in the life of a modern day winemaker.
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We sat down with Steve Webber from De Bortoli, Yarra Valley, to get some insight into a day in the life of a modern day winemaker.

Talking trends and challenges with De Bortoli winemaker: Q&ACan you please give us the brief history of your career?

  • Cellarhand at Leo Buring in 1978-1989
  • Studied for Roseworthy B. Sc. Oenology 1980 to 1982
  • Winemaker at Lindemans in Mildura and Coonawarra from 1983 to 1989
  • Winemaker at De Bortoli Yarra Valley from May, 1989 -

What’s a typical day for you?
6.30 – 7.00 am start. Coffee in lunch room with staff. Mainly office work, blending, tasting and promoting these days. Glass of wine at 5pm. Crazy hours during the harvest, getting hands dirty and playing on the forklift.

What training/education did you undertake for your role?
A degree in Winemaking, as well as  tasting and enjoying piles of wine, lots of of wine travels and chatting with other vignerons.

What would you say is the biggest daily challenge you face in your job?
Making better wine for less cost so that we can meet the markets' price expectation.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing the wine industry today?
Interesting and delicious wine with terroir at an affordable price.

What’s the piece of technology or equipment that you find indispensable in your work?
Destemmer – needs to be gentle and effective. Some berry sorting on the end of it wouldn't be bad but we don't have one so we rely on human bunch sorting at this stage.

What’s an exciting project you’re working on at the moment?
Making and getting consumers to drink lighter beautiful, aromatic and graceful red wine.

What do you think will be the next big trends in wine in Australia?
Probably more Sauvignon Blanc but hoping for Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese and of course fine Chardonnay.

What are some of the biggest opportunities for Australia’s winemakers at the moment?
Some markets are enjoying the fine subtle wine from Australia's cool regions so hopefully this phenomenon is an opportunity.

Where do you see the industry in 10 years time?
I am not holding my breath, but with some luck a vibrant, interesting, multi faceted retail market, and hopefully not dominated by too fewer players.

What advice would you give to a young winemaker just starting in the industry?
Drink broadly, take real interest in what you are drinking and work and travel overseas.

23 October, 2013

Article reposted from Hospitality Magazine.



Patrons Prefer Small Bars Owned by Bartenders

Is there a bar revolution going on, not just in Sydney but Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, too?
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Patrons prefer small bars owned by bartendersTim Philips, one third of Sydney bar Bulletin Place's founding fathers, believes there is a bit of a bar revolution going on, not just in Sydney but Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, too.

“Rather than just throw their money into the big hotel groups, people want value for money and to get served by someone that actually cares about what they are doing - I think they are getting a bit wiser with their drinking dollar,” he says.

He previously worked as a bartender at Merivale's Hemmesphere, and is an advocate of small bars run by bartenders as opposed to big hospitality groups that operate multiple different venues.

“There are bigger bar groups out there that definitely look after their staff - I have a lot of great friends that work for The Keystone Group for example, and they have a really good reputation for that, but that doesn’t really apply to all the big guys.

“If you are a bartender out there and your employer is not looking after you, and you feel like you are being taken advantage of there are businesses all around the country now that won’t put up with that. They are owned and operated by bartenders themselves that know how to look out for one another.”

It seems Bulletin Place, which he founded with fellow industry veterans Adi Ruiz, previously of top Melbourne bars Ginger and Seamstress Sweatshop and ex-Reserve brand ambassador Robb Sloan, embodies these ideals - it is small in size and run by three bartenders who are incredibly passionate about what they do.


Despite only opening last November, the bar has won a slew of awards, including Cocktail Bar of the Year at the Australian Bar Awards in September, and it has just recently been ranked number 26 in the World’s 50 Best Bars list for 2013.

While the team is no doubt chuffed to receive such prestigious awards Philips is quick to note its business as usual at Bulletin Place.

“We have been fortunate enough to win Cocktail Bar of the Year and that is a massive pat on the back, but I don’t think any of us feel like we are anywhere near the best we can be.

"The next six months will see us really try to reinforce the standards at Bulletin Place, to lift our game and just get better and better," he says. 

While international recognition is a plus for Bulletin Place, Philip's believes it is great for Australia's bar industry as a whole.

“On an international scale it’s nice to have that exposure and also really amazing to see so many Australian bars represented - it’s not just a pat on the back for us but a pat on the back for the Australian bar industry." 

“We wanted to open a place where we weren’t being told what to do or what to make, where we could focus on making quality drinks on a small scale,” says Philips.


The bar itself seats 45-people, and while small bars have proven incredibly popular of late, he explains budget very much dictated the size of the venue.

“Because we are self-funded we had a certain budget to work with, so we could only really afford to do a small space initially.”

Part of Bulletin Place’s success no doubt comes down to its cocktail offering, which showcases the nation’s bountiful supply of fresh produce.  

“We try to keep the cocktail list really simple and really fresh - cocktails are inspired by what we pick up from the markets each morning, so there is very much a local, seasonal vibe going on with the list. 

“They are almost a way of us celebrating the biodiversity in Australia, we try to make really good use of what is on our doorstop,” he says.

“We unashamedly have fruity drinks but at the same time we like to showcase the booze and make sure they are really punchy and direct but with a seasonal twist.”

The cocktail list changes daily and the team can whip up a unique or classic concoction on request, meanwhile the bar’s wine and beer lists change on a regular basis.

“Our wine list changes every month and we change our beers every week - it is all very dependent on what the weather is doing, what we are drinking at the time and what we feel like selling.

“Having that ever-changing approach means we can move with the seasons really easily,” Philips says. 

14 October, 2013

Article reposted from Hospitality Magazine.