If owning a house and garden is the great Australian dream, then buying a pub must be the great Australian pipe dream.
Whether you want to serve jam jar cocktails to hip, inner city types; or head off to the country and become the much-loved publican for locals and tourists, dreaming of owning a pub is one of our most favoured clichés. But what if you had the chance to actually do it?
Iconic hotels have been fetching big price tags around the city recently, with some going for close to $50 million. The buyers of these ones are obviously not your stock-standard Aussie dreamers, but such sales show how much value people place in a pub that ticks all the boxes.
Don’t despair, though, because more affordable options do exist, especially in regional towns or suburbs closer to city outskirts.
These cheaper venues often provide a chance for a buyer to come in and establish a food or entertainment hub where there previously wasn’t one, for between $2 million and $6 million.
If you think you might be that buyer, there are a few things you need to take into account.
The first thing you will need is some experience in managing a bar, as extra hard work is required to make the business viable.
Your opening hours will run well into the evening, but supply deliveries will be bright and early and some parts of the business will require you to be available nine to five.
You will also need to be able to demonstrate some experience in the field if you plan to borrow from a bank to finance the purchase. Banks don’t like to risk lending money to what may end up being a liability and things can turn sour pretty quickly in the hospitality industry.
Next, you will need a liquor licence. These can be expensive and will also make you accountable should any responsible service of alcohol breaches occur. If someone has been drinking in your pub, your responsibility may not end when they leave the premises. If they are assaulted or injured on the way home, you can find yourself up for some damages.
Finally, you will need some time to make sure you buy the right place. You would not want to find out after purchasing that the pub has council-imposed restrictions on noise or opening hours, or that there are dodgy lease or supplier agreements in place.
If you are still not deterred, then it’s a big “cheers” to you and good luck.
Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and News.com.au.
Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing.
His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at news.com.au.