The Robert Burns Hotel in Melbourne’s Collingwood has a new owner and will soon have a new name and a new look following its sale to Only Hospitality Group (OHG).

OHG, founded by former VFL footballer Julien Moussi, has bought the leasehold off outgoing publican Gerry Nass.

The purchase marks the debut into the pub sector for OHG which operates a string of cafes and a coffee roasting facility, Inglewood Coffee Roasters.

“Today was a very proud day for the partners and team at Only Hospitality Group after officially acquiring our first pub, the Robert Burns Hotel,” OHG said on its Facebook page this week.

“The Bobby Burns is one of Collingwood’s oldest and dearest venues. The charismatic red brick corner pub has been standing strong, operating all of 161 years since 1860.

“Our group is ready to take this new venture on and inject the venue with our energy and passion for delivering exceptional customer experiences.”

OHG has announced a new name for the venue – Hotel Collingwood – and flagged an upcoming facelift and a change in direction.

New owner Julien Moussi told Australian Hotelier that adding pubs to the portfolio has always been part of OHGs plan.

“We’ve been close to buying a few others which fell through due to COVID, so this is a good feeling.”

Moussi says the new leasehold will beef up job opportunities for the group’s employees. “We want to make sure we have exciting projects happening to keep our staff stimulated. This is part of the bigger picture for OHG.”

The pub will take its new name in about six weeks, Moussi says. It will close briefly to enable a minor renovation and rebrand and be ready to open its doors before footy finals.

The main objective of the renovation and rebrand is to give the hotel a solid new identity, he says, with simplicity at the heart of the new look.

“We want to make sure it offers an inclusive environment and has great food, drink and atmosphere every day of the week. We want people to come from afar, and we also want locals to feel at home.”

The hotel has a front bar, dining and function spaces, a bistro and beer garden and is positioned among new residential and retail developments.

The Smith Street leasehold has 16 years remaining and the sale was negotiated by Mat George of CBRE Hotels.

In a statement George said the sale followed a “short, sharp and competitive process, with OHG outbidding several groups to secure the lease at a time when the Melbourne pub sector is starved of decent opportunities and a line-up of cashed-up buyers are waiting in the wings”.

“OHG will undertake a facelift of the property in a few months’ time to further boost the strong weekly revenue it has reported since re-opening.”

Moussi started his business a decade ago rolling out a coffee cart to local football matches, with the aim of saving enough capital to start up his own café in Fitzroy. The group now has 15 venues in addition to the coffee roastery.

OHG says its mission is to create “hospitality spaces that are welcoming, comfortable and memorable” for both its customers and employees.

Join the Conversation


    1. My ancestor was Farquharson Anderson who also was a licensee here. An amazing historical anchor to our family 😀

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *