Historic Bendigo pub famous for its tomato wine hits the market

The pub has been a private home and a restaurant.  Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale
The pub has been a private home and a restaurant. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

The historic Pratty’s Patch pub – a character-filled mudbrick and stone establishment built by an 1860s pioneer and his convict wife – located in the booming Bendigo suburb of Maiden Gully is looking for new owners.

The unique watering hole and restaurant, which is the only licensed hotel in the popular suburb and sits on a massive 6569m2 allotment, has an asking price of $3.5 million.

It’s on the market for the first time in 18 years and is being sold as a freehold going concern or “walk in, walk out” basis, as the current owners are looking to retire. The property was built in 1863 by John Fellows and his convict wife to replace a smaller bark hut constructed about three years earlier.

Pratty’s Patch is on the market for the first time in 18 years. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

It was used as a private home for many years, including for the famous Monsant family, of Spanish origin, who resided there for more than 50 years and grew tomatoes and other vegetables on the surrounding land to sell at markets.

After moving to the property with his mother Manuela in 1932, Pedro “Pratty” Monsant went on to become the head of the family, so the property and farm became known colloquially as Pratty’s Patch. Over the years, the building changed hands and was extended and updated.

Local history books describe dances held in the front room to the music of a wind-up gramophone. And every week in summer, it’s said cricket matches were held on the flat land and everybody drank “tomato wine” afterwards. During the war, the family grew tomatoes to be canned and sent to the troops.

When the property was converted into a restaurant in the early 1980s, the owners used the name Pratty’s Patch. A large function room was added in the 1990s and in 1996 it began operating as a pub.

Dances were once held in the front room and the venue was known for its tomato wine. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

Bendigo historian and author James Lerk said the building was significant because of its interesting past and uncommon architectural style.

“There certainly isn’t many buildings like it and the fact it’s still in use is a good thing. Over the years, the extensions have been done in a way that’s sympathetic to the past, so that’s important too,” he said.

Selling agent Travis Hurst of Colliers International Ballarat said the property has “transformed over time”, while maintaining its historical façade. With a “long and decorated history”, he said it’s a “thriving operation”.

“It is rare to see licenced premise freeholds become available for sale, as they tend to be a long term-hold for property investors. Even rarer still is to see both a leasehold and freehold opportunity being offered,” he said.

Located on Monsants Road, less than 10 minutes from central Bendigo, it has a liquor licence for 180 patrons and more than enough room to accommodate them.

There is dining space for 200, including several private dining spaces, two outdoor beer gardens, grass areas, a fully decked-out kitchen and quirky bar. It currently operates Friday to Sunday.

The property has been extended over time. Picture: realcommercial.com.au/for-sale

“There is significant scope to further increase revenue to the business by expanding the hours of operation, as well as the buildings, to accommodate a larger and more varied audience of customers.

“There is also a considerable opportunity to develop that land around the building (too), such as residential or hotel accommodation,” Mr Hurst said.

A managers’ residence, plus a separate one-bedroom residence at the rear of property is also part of the deal. The vacant block next-door – 4568m2 on an additional title – is also for sale, for $400,000.

Interest is expected from metropolitan Melbourne and from across regional Victoria.

“Interest has been reasonably good thus far, even considering that buyers for such a property are limited, not only in financial capacity, but also with the skills and experience in running such a business,” Mr Hurst said.