7 Tips to Buying a Pub in Australia

by Vanessa Lovie 3rd of January, 2024
7 Tips to Buying a Pub in Australia
Tips Buyings a Pub in Australia

Pubs are seen as quintessentially Australian. They symbolise the laid-back, friendly, and welcoming nature that Australians pride themselves on. The pub culture is an integral part of the Australian way of life, especially in country towns.

Whether gathering for birthday dinners, sporting events or a good old-fashioned drinking sessions with mates, Australians love their pubs! 

Many Australian pubs have a rich history and are often located in historic buildings. The architecture and decor of older pubs are a reminder of the towns development and cultural heritage. When you look at the pubs for sale you will need to consider the age of the building and maintenance costs. Depending if you are buying leasehold or freehold, its important to understand the building as much as the business. 

In Australia you can find a pub in just about any town. 

Assess these 7 areas of the pub your buying

1. Is it freehold or leasehold?

In most cases, pubs are leasehold. This means you pay a lease to operate your business within the space. Most commercial leases are 5x5x5 or 10x10x10 for this type and size of premises.

It is important to ensure that the pub you buy has a long-term lease from the current owner; otherwise, when your lease ends they may find a new tenant or sell the premises. You need to make sure you are paying for the business and a good lease term. Always read the lease agreement carefully. A lease has a big impact on the business including its cash flow, how you can operate it, and the changes you can make. 

If you are buying a freehold pub and premises, ensure you get a building inspection and are aware of any council zoning changes. 


2. Check the Kitchen

When you're buying a pub or restaurant for sale, another thing to consider is the kitchen.

If it's not in good shape or has some issues with it, then think about how much money and time will need to be put into fixing up that part of your new business. If you are buying leasehold, this may be something you may want to negotiate with the landlord before buying the business. 

Pubs traditionally sell 'pub food' which includes burgers, steaks, schnitzels, fries etc. Though there has been a growing trend in pubs offering more varied dining options such as Chinese, Thai and high-end steak and ribs . It depends on the clientele, size and location of the business. 

Buying an Established pub for sale Tips

3. Does it have accommodation? 

A pub with accommodation is a good investment because it can provide a good option for clients and an extra income for the business. People often look at a pub or motel for sale with a liquor license. 

Accommodation attached to a pub is more common in regional Australia. It was very popular during the 1970s and 1980s when the majority of pubs were built to include rooms for rent upstairs. The unfortunate part of many of these establishments is they are due for renovations, which can be costly. So you will need to review on a case-by-case basis and chat with the landlord about any future renovation plans. 

Ensuring good occupancy rates is important as it comes with its own unique set of expenses such as cleaning, replacing bed linen, laundry services, marketing, online booking systems etc. 

Is everything in good condition? If not, then take the additional expenses into account. 


4. Check with the Council

Are there any local developments in progress that could affect the pub such as a major road change or a new shopping centre?

A number of regional towns in Australia have experienced a decline due to the diversion of a major highway that bypasses the town. Look at the 5-10 year plan for the region with the local council. 

A lot of pubs that are for sale rely on the tourists or being popular amongst locals to survive. You want to make sure that no new pub or restaurant precinct is being built nearby. 


5. Read online reviews

Does the pub have a good reputation? Are you able to improve its image?

One of the most important parts of buying a pub is finding one that meets your needs and has great reviews.

Reading online reviews can help you determine if an establishment will be able to meet your requirements or not. Look on Google, Facebook and industry-related websites such as TripAdvisor

If it doesn’t seem like the right place for whatever reason, then move on! You want to make sure you find something worth investing in after all this hard work.

people gathering in pub

6. Check the Financials

When buying a business, the biggest indicator whether it is a good investment is how financially stable it is. You will want to perform due diligence on the pub you are looking to buy and ask a series of questions such as:

  • What is the net profit to the owner?

  • How long will it take me to earn back my investment (ROI)?

  • What is the year-on-year growth of the business?

  • What is the profit to loss ratio?

  • Will I have added expenses if I rebrand or do a fit-out?

  • Does the pub have any outstanding debts? 

Ensuring you have a professional to assist you during the due diligence is very important, especially when making a big investment and buying a pub. 

7. Have a drink and a meal

One of the best ways to truly know if this is the right pub for you is to take a look behind the scenes. You need to find out how much work would be involved in running your own business and whether it's worth all of that effort.

This means taking a good look around when you're there as a patron. How are the staff? Are they happy? Is service efficient? Are there any key people who keep the pub running efficiently? Getting a well-informed picture of the business you are looking to buy is important.

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has over 5,0000 members and maybe an organization you wish to be a part of. They represent members who own establishments from small country pubs to inner CBD 5 star hotels. 


8 pubs currently for sale in Australia


Pub for Sale in Australia


  1. East Hotel Colac - Leasehold

    • Location: COLAC EAST, VIC
    • Price: N/A
    • Description: Consistent trading hotel with potential for development and improvement. Multiple income streams.
    • View Details
  2. Iconic Bar, Restaurant and Live Music Venue

    • Location: MORNINGTON, VIC
    • Price: N/A
    • Description: Iconic venue with high exposure on a corner location. Excellent potential for growth.
    • View Details
  3. Karratha Tavern Business

    • Price: $450,000 + SAV
    • Description: Fully fitted tavern business with strong revenue and profits. 200-person capacity.
    • View Details
  4. Leederville Small Bar for Sale

    • Price: $255,000 + SAV
    • Description: Central prominent location with a small bar liquor license and nice alfresco courtyard.
    • View Details
  5. Discover Your Dream Business Opportunity at the Kaneira Hotel!

    • Location: CULGOA, VIC
    • Price: $549,000 Freehold Going
    • Description: Hotel bar, bistro, pub, restaurant, cafe, and takeaway in a single establishment.
    • View Details
  6. Great Little Bush Pub

    • Location: KINGOONYA, SA
    • Price: N/A
    • Description: Historic Kingoonya Hotel offering a lifestyle change. Fully equipped for a new owner.
    • View Details
  7. Classic Country Pub Business - Mount Molloy

    • Location: MAREEBA, QLD
    • Price: $190,000 + SAV
    • Description: Located on a tourist trail with proximity to major attractions.
    • View Details
  8. Tavern + Pub + Accommodation incl. Land and Buildings

    • Location: PERTH, WA
    • Price: $650,000 + SAV
    • Description: Well-established tavern with licensed pub, restaurant, and accommodation in a large area.
    • View Details


So Should You Buy a Pub?

It's important to remember that every business is different, and pubs will have their own unique set of cicurmstances to review. Going into business ownership can be very rewarding, but its important to do your due dilligence so you understand what you are buying. You should always consult with professionals when buying a pub. These include a conveyancer, business broker, business advisor and accountant. 

Originally published 2018. Updated 2024. 

Tags: buying pub tips

About the author

Vanessa Lovie

CEO Bsale Australia

Vanessa is the current manager and CEO of Bsale Australia. Over the past 11 years as a business owner, she understands what it takes to grow a ...

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