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The sale of Auckland’s Soul

Tags: Commercial

The iconic Viaduct restaurant & bar is on the market

During seventeen years in business, Soul Bar & Bistro has claimed an iconic status in the city’s hospitality landscape. With its collection of acclaimed industry awards, signature events included in the most exclusive social calendars and impressive quality and service standards, Soul has managed to grow both creatively and commercially to unequalled heights. ‘The perfect time to explore a next chapter’ according to Soul partners Judith Tabron and Eric Watson.

The single level ground floor premises housing Soul’s operations, sits underneath the Sebel Hotel overlooking a marina full of multi-million dollar yachts and launches. Since the opening in 2001, Soul Bar & Bistro has consistently been among the best performing hospitality destinations in New Zealand.

Co-founder and managing director Judith Tabron and her team have managed to create and hold a privileged position among the elite of New Zealand’s most esteemed dining and drinking establishments.

With immaculate attention to detail, an extreme hunger for perfection and relentless sense of innovation Soul has grown from a local restaurant to an internationally acclaimed brand.

Soul Bar & Bistro is one of this country’s most decorated food and beverage venues – winning such titles as:

• Supreme winner at the Hospitality Zealand Awards for Excellence in 2010

• Winner of the Best Restaurant category at the Hospitality Zealand Awards for Excellence in 2009, 2010, and 2012

• Winner of the Excellence in Customer Service category at the Hospitality Zealand Awards for Excellence in 2009, 2010, and 2011, as well as taking out the Excellence in Training and Staff Development category for four consecutive years from 2009, and the Excellence in Marketing accolade in 2009

• Outstanding Waiter in 2015 and 2017 and Hospitality Personality of the Year in 2014 at the Lewisham Awards run by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

• Metro top 50 restaurants 2012, ’13, ’14, ’15, ‘17

• Cuisine Magazine Good Food Awards awarded 1 chefs hat 2013, ’14, ’15, ’16, ‘17

‘It is refreshing to see Soul Bar & Bistro’s presence has remained at the pinnacle of Auckland’s corporate and high-end social scene for almost two decades, while numerous competing food and beverage businesses have changed ownership in the Viaduct over the same period’ says Paul Dixon, tourism and hospitality division manager at Bayley’s.

Tabron agrees it is quite unique in this current hospitality climate. ‘The key to building in lasting hospitality venue and brand is constant innovation and attention to detail. My team and I have worked tirelessly over the past decades to create a stable yet creative brand that can withstand the trials of time and fleeting trends’

Looking ahead, all eyes are on this part of the city as many great initiatives will raise this area to a next level. ‘For the Viaduct, and Soul as the jewel in the crown from a hospitality destination perspective, summer is also coming up – bringing with it the Volvo Around the World Yacht Race boats, support teams and visitors, along with the cruise ship season, and in 2021, the America’s Cup.’ says Tabron.

With so much in prospect, the time has come for Tabron and Watson to explore the options of a sale. The Soul Bar & Bistro business is a stand-alone brand and operation. It is a completely separate entity from the restaurant and bar’s building. Soul Bar & Bistro is currently on a lease of the premises, running through until 2026, with two further six-year rights of renewal.

Soul factsheet:

Opening date: 2001

Seating capacity: 250

Services: Lunch, Dinner, Drinks

Signature events: Ladies Lunch, Bluff Oyster Day, Melbourne Cup, PUNCH, fashion shows of Yvonne Bennetti, Trelise Cooper and Kathryn Wilson

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