Is it 'last drinks' for Keystone Group?
Cargo Bar, King Street Wharf
Yesterday, the bar & restaurant scene was rocked by news that the owners of Kingsley’s Steakhouse, Jamie’s Italian, Cargo Bar and Bungalow 8 has been unable to resolve differences at an ownership level in order to address debt acquired as part of their rapid expansion.
Champagne Room, Surry Hills
It was only two years ago that The Keystone Group took control of Pacific Restaurant Group (PRG). The acquisition was a major part of an aggressive series of takeovers and openings that resulted in 20 properties across six of Australia’s capital cities.
The Winery, Surry Hills
The timing of this expansion couldn’t have been worse for a group that had its major revenue streams located right in the heart of the precinct most affected by Sydney’s lockout laws- which had been introduced only four months earlier.
Jamie's Italian, Perth
The consequences of this policy is well known – with iconic venues closing down and the Casino being the only visible beneficiary. Meanwhile, Cargo Bar, Bungalow 8 and The Loft (all located on King Street Wharf) have been hammered as punters flee the city for less restrictive suburbs.
It’s fair to suggest that the strategy to build Keystone into a national brand existed before the lockout laws were enacted. If the group was relying on their traditional revenues to service the debt from PRG, then management must have been particularly bullish about their ability to meet their obligations.
The King Street Wharf venues were the largest and most well-known of Keystone’s properties prior to taking on the Jamie’s Italian brand, and any impact on revenues for those bars was always going to have a disproportionate effect on the group.
Bungalow 8, King Street Wharf
All of The Keystone Group’s venues remain open for business as usual.