HISTORIC Albury watering hole, Soden’s Hotel, has new operators with Brendan Tracey and wife Lyndall Hutchinson signing up to a long-term lease deal.
The couple is stepping up in the hospitality stakes from a recent stint operating the Black Barrel Barbecue mobile food van to taking on one of the city’s most iconic pubs.
Mr Tracey has been an Albury-based builder and also worked as a project manager on the $11 million Murray Art Museum Albury redevelopment for Zauner Construction.
“We live just a couple of blocks away,” Lyndall said.
“This was our new local I suppose and we came in and heard it might be on the market.
“We eventually decided to bite the bullet and give it a crack.
“It is got huge potential.”
The pub’s leasehold came up for grabs earlier this year when present owners, Australian Venue Co, called for expressions of interests in a nationwide marketing campaign.
The pub’s main features include a large bistro, bar, additional dining areas, function room, children’s indoor playground, sports bar, TAB, beer gardens, 16 poker machines and drive-through bottle shop.
In 2016, Albury business partners Craig Shearer and Jason Sheather sold Soden’s and Beer DeLuxe to the Dixon Hospitality Group in a deal reportedly worth $30 million.
Dixon Hospitality Group changed its name to AVC when a US-based private equity took a majority stake in the company last year.
One of the pub’s most recent high profile visitors was Malcolm Turnbull in his role of shadow minister for communications in the lead-up to the 2013 federal election which the Coalition won under the leadership of Tony Abbott.
Mr Turnbull subsequently deposed Mr Abbott as Prime Minister two years later.
Another high profile politician, Senator Pauline Hanson, infamously had her handbag stolen and a beer thrown over her in a visit to Soden’s in 1999.
Some changes to the bar area are under way to boost trade.
Ms Hutchinson has a family link to Soden’s with her dad’s cousin, Mal, a former owner of the pub along with fellow Albury businessman Graham Bosse.
The pair owned a long list of pubs in Albury over 30 years including the ill-fated Termo, which burnt down in 2005, Brady's Railway Hotel, The Albion Hotel and Springdale Heights Tavern.
The old Termo site sold recently for $6.6 million with First Choice liquor store taking out another long-term lease on the replacement building.
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