South Melbourne's Montague Hotel closed for business on February 2 without warning to staff or customers. ''Trade just wasn't happening and we had a very tough run in January,'' says operations manager Scott Thomas. While a sign in the hotel's paper-covered window says, ''The Montague is currently closed for renovation'', there are no signs of tradespeople. Asked about the sign, Thomas said, ''I don't know who put that up there.''
Thomas previously owned North Melbourne's Courthouse Hotel, which he sold in September 2013. Despite having been listed as the Montague's owner since The Age Good Food Guide 2009, Thomas says he is not financially involved and his father-in-law, Bob Franks, is the hotel's sole director. Thomas says he has received a couple of offers since the Park Street hotel went on the market.