Iris Capital is becoming a leading name in Hunter hospitality, adding a fourth Newcastle venue to its ever-expanding portfolio.
The development company’s hospitality arm has purchased Elermore Vale’s Shaft Tavern and hopes to untap its potential as a sophisticated suburban pub more suited to the changing face of its surrounding residents.
Iris Capital managing director Sam Arnaout said the pub was situated in an area that housed a lot of young professionals and families crying out for a vibrant community meeting place in their own backyard offering quality food and beverage.
“Newcastle has undergone a real renaissance and we want to be responsible for bringing that same edge and sophistication we now see in the city’s bars and eateries to venues in its suburbs,” Arnaout says. “A main focus will be to improve the street appeal, open up the dining areas and focus on creating a welcoming atmosphere.”
The Shaft Tavern already has a large public bar, bistro, drive-through bottle shop, TAB facilities and 26 gaming machines.
Iris Capital has already made a significant investment in the region through their $700 million East End mall redevelopment and $30 million acquisition of the Gunyah and Argenton Hotels, along with the Sydney Junction Hotel in Hamilton.
Mat Sargent now manages the Sydney Junction and hopes to transform it into a family-friendly venue that targets a more mature crowd (people in their 30s and 40s) looking for good conversation with friends, a good feed and a live band. It’s a seemingly simple recipe he reckons “will breathe much-needed soul back into a hotel that was once known for its good food and live music”.
Among other things, he wants to create a more hospitable environment for all patrons and clean up the hotel’s reputation. On December 1 the hotel was downgraded from level two on the NSW government’s violent venue register to level three (the lowest rated). The new-look hotel will open its doors to a new breed of clientele tonight when it hosts a concert by pub rockers The Radiators.
More on Iris Capital and its growing footprint in Newcastle and the Hunter in an upcoming edition of the Newcastle Herald.