The Merivale-isation of Sydney drinking continues unabashed with the hospitality group announcing it has bought its first pub in the inner west: the Queen Victoria Hotel in Enmore.
The purchase follows last month’s plan to acquire the Newport Arms Hotel in May for an undisclosed sum, rumoured to be around $50 million. The Hemmes family’s billion-dollar Merivale Group now controls more than 50 bars, hotels and restaurants across Sydney.
Since February last year, Merivale has added the Paddington Arms on Oxford Street, 50 King Street in Sydney’s CBD, and the Beach Palace Hotel, now the Coogee Pavilion, to its portfolio, with the first two due to relaunch in August and May respectively.
The company also poached 3-hat chef Ben Greeno from Momofuku Seiobo to add to its strong culinary reputation via chefs such as Dan Hong, Peter Doyle and Jeremy Strode.
The dramatic expansion plans come in the wake of the loss of family patriarch John Hemmes in early March.
The Queen Victoria Hotel on Enmore Road near Newtown station is Merivale’s first hotel west of the CBD. The company will take possession in late April. In keeping with the company’s food-focused strategy, the pub will have a Hong Kong street food-inspired menu, and chefs Christopher Hogarth and Patrick Friesen from Merivale’s Papi Chulo at Manly Wharf have been enlisted to drive the shift in time for a relaunch slated for early June.
The company’s latest purchase is expected to have set them back more than $10 million.
Merivale CEO Justin Hemmes described 2015 as “undoubtedly our most exciting year yet”.
“I am passionate about creating world-class venues designed specifically around the local community and look forward to becoming part of Sydney’s thriving Inner West,” he said.
Another of the group’s pubs, Beresford Hotel, is currently having a makeover after veteran chef Laif Etournaud, from Onde in Darlinghurst, signed on as head chef.
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