A new group has acquired one of the oldest pubs in Sydney’s Balmain and has plans to renovate and refurbish the venue and reposition it with a new food and beverage concept.

The Dry Dock Hotel has been bought by new entrant Peninsula Hospitality Group which is led by experienced operator James Ingram and includes a group of investment professionals, some of whom are Balmain locals.

The pub’s outgoing owner Michael Patterson said while he was slightly apprehensive about selling the hotel during Covid lockdown, he was delighted with the result.

Ingram has more than 25 years of industry experience and has in the past collaborated on large projects with groups like Merivale, Solotel and Hawkes Brewing Co.

Peninsula Hospitality Group plans to execute a capital expenditure program across the entire hotel and reposition it with a new food and beverage concept to will better resonate with the locals of Balmain and Birchgrove, according to Ingram.

“Our attraction to the Dry Dock was that it has a large 645sqm footprint, a logical layout and is possibly the last real opportunity to acquire and renovate a venue of scale in Balmain,” he said.

“I’m excited about what we can deliver to the local peninsula community as I believe there is room for a very strong food and pub offering in this dynamic precinct.

“Our plan is to operate the pub in its current form for an initial period while we plan for some much-needed reinvigoration. Our aim is to retain the Dry Dock’s character but with a refreshed vision to deliver a high-quality hospitality experience.”

The Dry Dock Hotel was established in 1857 and is located next to a park and is close to the Balmain Ferry terminal.

Blake Edwards and Sam Handy from HTL Property managed the sale in conjunction with Peter Seeto from Cabmon Property.

“We did, initially, give some consideration as to whether or not we should postpone the sale campaign until such time as the hotel was reopened for trading,” Handy said.

“However, the sale of the hotel demonstrates that whilst trade has been interrupted yet again by the COVID-19 restrictions, demand for high-quality pub assets has not softened whatsoever.”

The sale campaign yielded six offers to purchase and attracted intense interest from a broad range of buyers including hoteliers, restaurateurs and developers, according to HTL.

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