Cop an eyeful of waterfront Brew on Quay

5:00 AM Saturday August 20, 2016 Colin Taylor

Brew on Quay at 102 Quay St on the Auckland waterfront.

Brew on Quay bar and restaurant on Auckland’s waterfront, one of Auckland’s most popular and strategically located bars, has been placed on the market for sale as a business going concern.

Featured in Bayleys’ latest Total Property portfolio magazine, the business is housed in a Category 1 heritage-listed building constructed in 1904 as the New Zealand headquarters for the Australian company Colonial Sugar Refining. The New Zealand Police took over the lease of the building in 1961, and it served as the Wharf Police Station up until 1993.

“The building still showcases it original kauri beams, pillars and floorboards encased by classic red bricks,” says Mike Peterson, Bayleys Auckland hospitality specialist, who is seeking offers for the business until September 21.

“The bar and restaurant was opened in 2009 when there were only a handful of craft beer ‘brew bars’ operating in the city.”

Peterson says that since its opening, Brew on Quay has benefited from two major social evolutions in central Auckland. Firstly, the development of the Britomart office and retail and hospitality precinct – including the relocation of several major corporate entities into the area. And secondly, the growth in both private and public sporting and entertainment events being hosted at the nearby Vector Arena

The venue has a floor plan of 320sq m – with an additional 54sq m of outdoor space at street level.

“When Brew on Quay opened, it was a veritable hospitality beacon in the Britomart precinct,” Peterson says. “It developed a loyal following among craft beer aficionados - with Epic and Tuatara branded beers on tap, along with craft brands like 8-Wired, Moa, Yeastie boys, Parrot Dog and Good George which shared other tap space on  a rotational roster.

“This draught beverage selection was complemented by the provision of mainstream Monteith’s Gold and Tiger beers on tap while Heineken was the biggest selling bottled beer on premises.

“While the ensuing years have seen an influx of neighbouring bars and restaurants, Brew on Quay has maintained its points of difference – its craft beer offering, its gastro pub menu, and its authentic colonial decor pub environment,” says Peterson.

“That ‘pub’ style environment draws in both a loyal lunch crowd from the neighbouring commercial offices, and a strong ‘after works drinks’ clientele seeking a point of difference to the adjacent chic wine bars and upmarket restaurants throughout the Britomart precinct.

“While the business is currently unaffiliated with any of the big three breweries – DB, Lion and Independent – some of their products are stocked and there is of course the opportunity to change the focus and bring on board solus supply contracts if desired.”

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The interior of Brew on Quay retains many original features of the historic building

In addition to maintaining a strong regular client base from neighbouring major corporate entities such as Westpac, Ernst & Young, and Southern Cross, Peterson says Brew on Quay has also benefitted from the growth in popularity of the 12,000 seat Vector Arena entertainment venue some 500 metres away.

Major events and shows at Vector this year alone have included international circus Cirque de Soleil, pop legends Madonna, Black Sabbath, Rudimental, Simply Red, The Cure, and Tom Jones; the stage version of TV comedy show Mrs Brown’s Boys, and the Breakers basketball team.

“Since 2010, Vector has really come into its own as a multi-use entertainment and function venue. It’s not uncommon now to see the venue utilised by different acts or show five days out of a seven day week,” Peterson says.

“As a consequence of being on the direct route linking the Viaduct and lower CBD with Vector Arena, Brew on Quay picks up considerable foot traffic from those people wanting a light dinner and few drinks before attending Vector Arena events, or popping in for a post-show beverage.

“Vector Arena’s new owners, MHC Investments run by concert promoter Michael Copple, have indicated they want to work the venue even harder and drive bookings up to close to 100 percent nightly usage. That patronage increase would have an immediate financial benefit for Brew on Quay which is already doing ‘very nicely thank you’ from the current flow of patrons both to and from events being held at the venue.

Peterson said Brew on Quay’s closeness to the Britomart train station and downtown bus terminal was also an important factor in sustaining customer numbers.

“For office-working commuters, being near the train station and bus terminal allows them to safely have a few drinks after work and then catch the train or bus home. And when major sporting and music events are hosted at both Eden Park and Mount Smart – such as All Blacks rugby matches, the league sevens, one day cricket internationals or rock and pop concerts – Brew on Quay picks up a substantial number of fans using the downtown train service to and from both stadiums.

“Brew on Quay really is strategically located in the true sense of the term on so many different fronts,” Peterson says.

The business employs 16 staff consisting of 13 full-timer workers and three part-timers. The culinary brigade consists of one head chef and five additional chefs operating a commercial-grade kitchen with fryers, grillers, ovens, salamanders, and a walk-in fridge and freezer.

Peterson also credits part of Brew on Quay’s longevity and continued success to the availability of multiple dining options for patrons – ranging from niche spaces in what were the building’s original offices, through to banquet style seating for 25 guests on the upper floor.