One of Sydney's best-known beer halls changed its name after 40 years

The Lowenbrau is gone…

One of the most popular places for a beer in Sydney, Löwenbräu Keller in The Rocks, is changing its name after 40 years in the business.

The private equity-owned Urban Purveyor Group (UPG) decided it was time to update the site, which opened in 1976, to give it a more contemporary feel, rebranding as the Munich Brauhaus – a nod to the original on Melbourne’s South Wharf – in the process.

UPG CEO Thomas Pash said that far from walking away from the traditional Bavarian style that made the site famous, they wanted to up the ante on the concept, extending the bar, adding lounge seating and creating a permanent Oktoberfest party vibe. The company has also introduced a range of house-brewed Bavarian-style craft beers.

“The much-loved Löwenbräu Keller is legendary, but after 40 years it’s time to raise the bar on all things Bavarian,” Pash said.

“Munich Brauhaus is the more modern, big Bavarian bier hall that we want to take forward as one of our key brands. We see a good opportunity to extend the massive bier hall and garden concept to other states.

“Plus we believe it complements our 10 smaller Bavarian Bier Cafes, which are also undergoing a new look and feel.”

Since Quadrant Private Equity acquired UPG for $175 million from founder John Szangolies last November, the business has gone on a massive expansion drive under Pash, who came on board 12 months ago.

Löwenbräu Keller was the first venture Szangolies launched, and by the time he sold UPG 39 years later, the business had 20 restaurants and bars – most notably the modern Japanese chain Saké – in three states, with revenues in excess of $170 million and 1800 staff.

Last week UPG announced it was launching its fifth Saké Restaurant & Bar in Melbourne’s Flinders Lane in April.

Pash described the new two-storey, 175-seat site as a “super-luxe, high-energy restaurant”.

He’s also introducing a brand extension dubbed Saké Jr, a “healthy fast-fine restaurant that features create-your-own bowls, buns and rolls along with grab and go versions of Saké’s signature items”.

Sake Jr is slated to open at 555 Bourke Street, Melbourne in May.

UPG is also moving into Italian, as part of a new dining precinct at the Harry Seidler-designed Grosvenor Place off George Street in Sydney.

Stella Ristorante is an 800 square metre venue on three levels including a rooftop terrazzo and bar set to open midway through 2016. Saké Jr is also opening at the site.

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