Consolidation phase for ALH

AUSTRALIAN Leisure and Hospitality Group has put further acquisition plans on hold and will instead consolidate its stable of pubs, according to ALH area manager Brian Hopley.

ALH’s transformation of Black Tom’s Bar and Grill into The Vic is the last in an aggressive, year-long acquisition and redevelopment phase for the group, which now boasts a 10-pub portfolio.

“We really want some consolidating time. We do have our eyes on one or two properties but we are not in too much of a hurry to get those,” Mr Hopley said.

The revamp to The Vic is relatively minor compared with the group’s recent redevelopments of The City Hotel and Victoria Park’s Culture Garden.

The City Hotel was extensively renovated and launched as The Belgian Beer Cafe Westende, while the Culture Garden was completely gutted before being launched as The Balmoral in February this year.

“The Vic isn’t so much a redevelopment but more of a re-launch,” Mr Hopley said.

“It has always been on the cards; we are upmarket pub operators. When we bought it we liked the venue, it was well maintained and it was a very good business but it was definitely a restaurant.

“We were busy getting Balmoral developed and we thought we would wait and see if time could change the restaurant feel of Black Tom’s.

“We moved the restaurant desk but people still stood at the front entrance and waited to be seated.

“The bar wasn’t that busy and we felt we had to make a bold statement and let people know it is a pub.”

The Vic existed in Subiaco about eight years ago under the stewardship of Gary Gosetti.

“By calling it The Vic we are calling it a pub and a pub that is known to Hay Street,” Mr Hopley said.

The new look Vic will officially open next week.

ALH recently divested its ownership of the Willagee Hotel, a sale based on a similar decision made last year regarding The Lynwood Hotel.

“We bought two or three venues five or six years ago with a business opportunity for gaming,” Mr Hopley said.

“That is not happening of course and we are now focusing on premium venues.”

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