Taphouse buyers pledge independence

The new owners of the The Local Taphouse Darlinghurst have committed to retaining its focus on local and independent beer.

The venue changed hands over the weekend, concluding a sale campaign that began in February.

“It only settles early July, but we’ve exchanged contracts and the deposit’s been paid,” co-owner Guy Greenstone told Brews News.

“On one hand it’s kind of a relief to be able to focus on things closer at hand, but on the other it’s really sad because it’s the end of an era – eight years is a long time.

“It’s bittersweet, because we love the place. We were just there on Sunday having our [GABS] volunteer wrap party, and there’s just so many great memories there,” he said.

The buyers are brothers James and JoshThorpe, who are making their debut acquisition after both having worked in pubs for several years.

“The Taphouse is quite a well respected and awarded venue for craft beer. I feel like in my career in hospitality, I’ve been constantly battling these contracts with big breweries to support local and independent breweries and beer,” James Thorpe told Brews News.

“The opportunity to take over a pub where there are no contracts in place with the big breweries was a massive plus for me.

“We do not and will not participate in the market-distorting practice of beverage rebates.”

James Thorpe is currently operations manager at the Newtown Hotel, which was purchased by Colonial Leisure Group early in 2016.

“Since being at the Newtown, we’ve changed the beverage offer to focus a lot more on craft beer, so up here we have 23 rotating craft beers on tap and over 100 tinnies on the fridge,” he said.

Minor refurbishments

The Thorpes plan to carry out minor refurbishments in stages, replace furniture on the ground floor and rooftop and upgrade the audio visual system throughout.

They intend to signal the venue’s separation from its St Kilda namesake by rebranding it as simply ‘The Taphouse’.

“That’s kinda cool, because it keeps the goodwill but it differentiates it a little bit,” Greenstone said.

“That’s what they wanted to do and it suits us fine too. It’s pretty much the best outcome we could have hoped for.

“I’m really excited by it, I couldn’t have hoped for better buyers to be honest. They are going to keep the focus on independent beers, which I’m thrilled about,” he said.

He said the venue will benefit from the injection of new owners who are based in Sydney.

“They are both going to be working in the venue all the time, and I think that’s what the place needs, that we couldn’t give it,” Greenstone said.

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