Hellenic Club of Sydney venues under new management as Adgemis’ embattled pub group exits

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Operations at the Hellenic Club of Sydney’s Alpha restaurant and Beta Events will be taken over by Con Dedes of Dedes Waterfront Group as Jon Adgemis’ embattled Public Hospitality Group (PHG) makes a swift exit.

PHG took over business activities of the Hellenic Club of Sydney’s Alpha and Beta venues in early January. The Greek Herald first reported that Adgemis’ pub group trumped competitors such as the Dedes Waterfront Group and the Doltone House Group to win the tender to operate the venues.

Former MasterChef judge and chef George Calombaris also moved into the kitchen at Alpha in March 2024, taking the reins from Alpha’s founding chef, Peter Conistis, who fronted the venue since its opening in 2013.

George Calombaris
George Calombaris took over Alpha Restaurant’s kitchen in 2024. Photo: The Herald Sun.

This takeover came despite PHG being weighed down by $500 million debt at the time. Adgemis’ project started to fray after he took on hundreds of millions in debt at high interest rates from a variety of lenders just before financing costs rose.

Some lenders started trying to sell off his properties, staff were left out of pocket, and suppliers were unpaid. The Australian Taxation Office also visited the pub group’s offices in early May 2024.

Adgemis later struck a $400 million refinancing deal with Deutsche Bank, Gemi Investments, Archibald Capital and Muzinich & Co, to save his PHG from collapse.

Despite this, Hellenic Club of Sydney members and the wider Greek community raised concerns to The Greek Herald about the future of Alpha and Beta Events, questioning the selection of Adgemis’ PHG over competitors, and expressing unease about the club’s financial stability as well as the potential impact on its activities and reputation.

Jon Adgemis
Jon Adgemis’ Public Hospitality Group has been embattled by debt over the past year. Photo: David Swift.

In welcomed news, the Hellenic Club of Sydney confirmed in a statement on Monday, June 17 that it had mutually agreed with the pub group that PHG would depart as the operators of the Alpha and Beta businesses on Castlereagh Street.

The transition from PHG to the new operators, led by Con Dedes, has started and will continue over the coming weeks. There is no word yet on whether Calombaris will stay on at Alpha.

“On behalf of Kerrie my partner, myself and the team at Dedes Group, we are honoured to have been entrusted with this beautiful asset,” Dedes told The Greek Herald.

Dedes, the experienced operator behind a fleet of successful Sydney restaurants including Flying Fish and Sala in Pyrmont, added that the Hellenic Club of Sydney will retain its distinct Greek character.

“We thank the Hellenic Club for their trust and we shall work hard to continue the wonderful hospitality legacy which the Hellenes are famous for,” he said.

A spokesperson for PHG said they have enjoyed their partnership with the Hellenic Club over the last six months and wished them “every success with the next chapter…”

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