The Sydney hospitality outfit, known for its restaurants and bars, has acquired its first pub in four years.

While Applejack Hopsitality owners Ben Carroll and Hamish Watts have a background in pubs – the pair worked for the National Leisure and Gaming (NLG) in the early 2000s – their own hospitality group has focused more on restaurants and bars, operating such venues as The Butler, The Botanist and Bopp & Tone. Up until this point, the only pub offering in the portfolio was the Endeavour Tap Rooms in The Rocks, which was purchased in 2016.

Now, Applejack Hospitality have secured a long-term leasehold for Forresters Hotel in Surry Hills, previously held by Australian Venue Co, and Drink N Dine before them. The new owners are excited to put their own high standard of offering into the venue, while still respecting its more casual nature.

“We are pumped to be undertaking this new project. It is an iconic Sydney pub that has endured a mixed identity over the past few years. The Forresters represents our first pub opening since Endeavour Tap Rooms in 2016. Our goal is to deliver a community-centric watering hole with an Applejack twist. In these uncertain times, we wanted to diversify our group with a more casual offering in a truly special Sydney suburb”, said Carroll and Watts.

The long-term lease was negotiated by JLL’s Kate MacDonald, alongside commercial real estate agent, Ari Danas of Danas Property.

“Our client set out to attract a long-term tenant with a quantifiable background of success in the food and beverage industry. Ben, Hamish and their team at Applejack were the ideal candidate, however the deal required some maneuvering to help achieve a mutual agreement in these uncertain times,” commented MacDonald.

While negotiations proved tricky in large part surrounding the uncertainty of the pandemic, MacDonald was able to figure out a deal that met the objectives of both vendor and purchaser.

“JLL are fielding daily enquiries from hoteliers of all levels looking for new opportunities nationwide. Despite COVID-19 and the unknown future impact on our industry, there are certainly ways in which solid deals can be struck which benefit all parties through creative thinking, and a personal understanding of the buyer’s and seller’s ultimate goal.”

Applejack plans to relaunch The Forresters after a major renovation and with a brand-new offering some time in the coming months. They will take over the hotel in September.

Image: Ben Carroll (left) and Hamish Watts (Yasmin Mund Photography)

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