Justin Hemmes and girlfriend head to Byron Bay he bought Cheeky Monkey’s for $13.5million


Hospitality mogul Justin Hemmes recently purchased iconic Byron Bay dive bar Cheeky Monkey’s for $13.5million.

And the Sydney businessman, 48, checked out the NSW coastal town on Sunday with his girlfriend, 24-year-old model Madeline Holtznagel.

The couple enjoyed an outdoor lunch at local café The Top Shop, accompanied by his children and another friend.

Getting to know the area! Justin Hemmes and his model girlfriend Madeline Holtznagel dined al fresco at a Byron Bay café on Sunday, after he bought dive bar Cheeky Monkey’s for $13.5M

The pub baron was spotted carrying a tray of burgers as the group sat outside.

He dressed casually in a plain white T-shirt and black pants, and swept his dirty blond hair up in a man bun.

Madeline looked off-duty chic in a jumper and P.E Nation bike shorts, and accessorised with a pair of Prada sunglasses.

Al fresco dining: The couple enjoyed an outdoor lunch at local café The Top Shop, accompanied by his children and another friend (right)

Al fresco dining: The couple enjoyed an outdoor lunch at local café The Top Shop, accompanied by his children and another friend (right)

Delish! The pub baron was spotted carrying a tray of burgers as the group sat outside

Delish! The pub baron was spotted carrying a tray of burgers as the group sat outside

Low-key low: He dressed casually in a plain white T-shirt and black pants, and swept his dirty blond hair up in a man bun

Justin placed his meal on the hood of his car, which he used as a makeshift table

Low-key low: He dressed casually in a plain white T-shirt and black pants, and swept his dirty blond hair up in a man bun

Justin placed his meal on the hood of his car, which he used as a makeshift table.

After finishing his burger, he sat back down with his girlfriend and their companion as they shared a lively conversation.

His daughters, Alexa, four, and Saachi, three, whom he shares ex-partner Kate Fowler, kept themselves busy by playing nearby.

Chatting: After finishing his burger, he sat back down with his girlfriend and their companion as they shared a lively conversation

Chatting: After finishing his burger, he sat back down with his girlfriend and their companion as they shared a lively conversation

Business talks: The group appeared to be deep in conversation, perhaps discussing how to develop Cheeky Monkey's from a backpacker's haven into something more upmarket

Business talks: The group appeared to be deep in conversation, perhaps discussing how to develop Cheeky Monkey’s from a backpacker’s haven into something more upmarket

Fun: Justin's daughters, Alexa, four, and Saachi, three, whom he shares ex-partner Kate Fowler, kept themselves busy by playing nearby

Patiently waiting: Madeline enjoyed the warm sun as one of her boyfriend's daughters played on the chair

Fun: Justin’s daughters, Alexa, four, and Saachi, three, whom he shares ex-partner Kate Fowler, kept themselves busy by playing nearby

The group appeared to be deep in conversation, perhaps discussing how to develop Cheeky Monkey’s from a backpacker’s haven into something more upmarket. 

Justin bought the legendary dive bar for at least $13.5million in May.

He told The Daily Telegraph: ‘I’ve been going to Byron since I was 10 years old, so it has always been a place close to my heart. I can’t wait to open our first venue on the North Coast and spend more time in the area. There’s simply no place like it.’ 

Off she goes: Madeline reached over to pick up her red juice before leaving

Off she goes: Madeline reached over to pick up her red juice before leaving

Effortlessly stylish: Madeline looked off-duty chic in a jumper and P.E Nation bike shorts, and accessorised with a pair of Prada sunglasses

Effortlessly stylish: Madeline looked off-duty chic in a jumper and P.E Nation bike shorts, and accessorised with a pair of Prada sunglasses

Relaunch: Justin bought legendary 'dive bar' Cheeky Monkey's for at least $13.5million in May

Relaunch: Justin bought legendary ‘dive bar’ Cheeky Monkey’s for at least $13.5million in May

Cheeky Monkey’s closed its doors on March 23 last year due to the Covid pandemic and has not been open since. Merivale took ownership of the pub on May 28. 

The restaurant and bar, which also houses backpacker accommodation, is situated on Byron’s popular Jonson Street. 

Justin is said to be eyeing up another property closer to the ocean on the same street.

Hot spot! The Byron Bay property market has become a hotspot for rich investors in recent years, with many hoping to buy a slice of Australia's hottest holiday destination

Hot spot! The Byron Bay property market has become a hotspot for rich investors in recent years, with many hoping to buy a slice of Australia’s hottest holiday destination

Location: The restaurant and bar, which also houses backpacker accommodation, is situated on Byron's popular Jonson Street. Justin is also said to be eyeing up another property closer to the ocean on the same street

Location: The restaurant and bar, which also houses backpacker accommodation, is situated on Byron’s popular Jonson Street. Justin is also said to be eyeing up another property closer to the ocean on the same street

Expanding the empire: The purchase comes after Justin spent about $200million on venues in Sydney's Leichhardt, Melbourne, and Lorne in Victoria over the last six months

Expanding the empire: The purchase comes after Justin spent about $200million on venues in Sydney’s Leichhardt, Melbourne, and Lorne in Victoria over the last six months 

The Byron Bay property market has become a hotspot for rich investors in recent years, with many hoping to buy a slice of Australia’s hottest holiday destination. 

The purchase comes after Justin spent about $200million on venues in Sydney’s Leichhardt, Melbourne, and Lorne in Victoria over the last six months. 

Earlier in May, he confirmed he’d also bought Norton’s Irish Pub in Leichhardt for $22million.

‘This is simply a continuation of our growth strategy pre-Covid which was focused on acquiring great properties like The Royal and 3 Weeds, and creating new experiences in existing venues,’ he said. 

Nice digs:  Earlier in May, Hemmes confirmed he'd also bought Norton's Irish Pub in Leichhardt for $22million

Nice digs:  Earlier in May, Hemmes confirmed he’d also bought Norton’s Irish Pub in Leichhardt for $22million

Justin also purchased The Whale Inn, a hotel and restaurant located in Narooma, on the south coast of New South Wales. 

Pricing details have not been released, but the four-star hotel had changed hands for about $2.8million in 2010.

It’s clear the Merivale Group is determined to expand out of Sydney with all of its recent purchases outside the Harbour City.

Interest: Justin also purchased The Whale Inn, a hotel and restaurant located in Narooma, on the south coast of New South Wales. Pricing details have not been released, but the four-star hotel had changed hands for about $2.8million in 2010

Interest: Justin also purchased The Whale Inn, a hotel and restaurant located in Narooma, on the south coast of New South Wales. Pricing details have not been released, but the four-star hotel had changed hands for about $2.8million in 2010

Justin also was revealed to have spent $38milion on the 145-year-old oceanfront Lorne Hotel in Victoria after buying Tomasetti House in Melbourne’s Flinders Lane precinct for more than $40million. 

He has since promised Melburnians he plans to ’embrace’ what’s on offer, rather than transplant his Merivale model into Victoria.

‘We have to embrace what makes Melbourne special, not bring Sydney with us,’ he told The Age.

‘I love that the city is so different to Sydney; it’s an exciting challenge that we really want to get right.’

Iconic: Justin also was revealed to have spent $38milion on the 145-year-old oceanfront Lorne Hotel in Victoria

Iconic: Justin also was revealed to have spent $38milion on the 145-year-old oceanfront Lorne Hotel in Victoria 

The Rich-Lister described Melbourne as a ‘very special city, with a unique energy’. 

‘Its local hospitality industry is one of the best in the world… we are honoured to open our first venue in Melbourne, and cannot wait to work alongside so many local industry greats,’ he said.

The billionaire acknowledged the ‘terrible’ sufferings of the Melbourne CBD last year due to Covid lockdowns and vowed to help turn things around for local businesses.

Expansion: He also bought Tomasetti House in Melbourne's Flinders Lane precinct for more than $40million

Expansion: He also bought Tomasetti House in Melbourne’s Flinders Lane precinct for more than $40million

Helping hand: He has since promised Melburnians he plans to 'embrace' what was on offer, rather than transplant his Merivale model into Victoria. Hemmes acknowledged the 'terrible' sufferings of the Melbourne and vowed to help turn things around for local businesses

Helping hand: He has since promised Melburnians he plans to ’embrace’ what was on offer, rather than transplant his Merivale model into Victoria. Hemmes acknowledged the ‘terrible’ sufferings of the Melbourne and vowed to help turn things around for local businesses

Justin’s family fortune is worth about $1.06billion. 

His property portfolio includes the Beresford Hotel in Surry Hills, the Queen Victoria Hotel in Enmore, and Bondi’s Royal Hotel.

Justin also recently bought his ex-partner Kate Fowler a $7.5million mansion Dover Heights, which is one of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs.

Fortune: Justin's family empire is believed to be worth about $1.06billion

Fortune: Justin’s family empire is believed to be worth about $1.06billion



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