Renting / leasing a bar in malta

Hi all,

Firstly a quick introduction, I run a successful pub restaurant in the uk for one of the big companies and I have been giving some serious thought to relocating to Malta in the next 2 years. I have a fiancee and a 2 year old daughter. My father grew up in malta although he left in the 70's. He owns 2 flats in malta and spends approx 3 months of the year there. He is keen to relocate there with his wife when/if I decide to take the plunge.

As I am not lucky enough to retire yet (only 32) I would like to lease a pub/bar and work for myself. I have a good understanding of the business and process in the uk but Malta seems very different. I can't really find much info out on google.
Does anyone know any good online resources on this topic as a starting point? Any sort of guide would be great.

I would also like to get together (online or in person) with other people from the uk who are currently running bars or restaurants in Malta to chat about their own personal experience.

I will be visiting Malta again in November on a research visit but if anyone can point me in th the right direction online before I visit that would be great. Having a young family means I must get it right.
Thanks in advance.

IMHO not a great plan  - i suggest you go over spend some time and speak to those who do or have done exactly as you are planning to do - do you know how many people come over to malta and try this - and fail big time - bars open and close all the time in malta - the secret lies in location and continuous passing trade all year round... and being able to take on the big boys in well established bars having the local contacts with the true local costs (not necessarily what you as a foreigner will be offered for stock) - many bars struggle even in the height of summer - and more so in winter.... another thing to consider... Malta has gone into all inclusive mode and that is currently crucifying bars... so do you homework

good luck though.

thanks for the reply.

I am aware of the challenges and if i'm not 99.9% sure of success I won't do it.

I tend to find that many of the bars other than the "big boys" are not run particularly well and standards and attention to detail are often overlooked, too many people think they can "play" at running a bar in the sun and then come unstuck very easily. There are some notable exceptions to this rule as some are very good indeed.

It's more the process of how to go about it and the challenges and hidden costs faced I'm looking for info on, I will be putting together a very solid business plan before commiting to anything.

anyone know anyone who would be good (and willing) to talk to?

Quote 'standards and attention to detail are often overlooked'.
Hmm, well plenty examples of that out here.
Virtually, if not all out here are individually/family run and competition can be resolute if not aggressive.

whats your plan to win over the locals and passing trade......

For the purely administrative aspect (setting up, registration, permits etc.), i suppose Business First is a good place to start.

pm me your details, we have done this and done it successfully :)


What you are saying is very correct regarding standards, upkeep etc.

I have had a bar and a nightclub in Romania. Both very successful, and still running to this day (I sold them into family there - couldn't live there).

Everyone said we'd fail, because one look around town, and all the bars looked the same, played the same radio station, and the clubs the same 'euro-dance'. With terrible customer service to boot.

Our bar was like a 'Buddha bar' chill out place. And the club an alternative music (and movie - we had cinema nights on a huge projector) club for the uni crowd. We we're rammed full every weekend with events and parties - great times!

I would be very interested in doing something myself in Malta, so I too would apreciate some details on this from scubaboy too, if that's ok?



edit to add

Yes, there was some pretty fierce on-goings with local club owners, who didn't appreciate a new face (especially a forefinger), taking their clients. There we're a few underhand tactics employed...but it didn't stop us. They just had to learn how to do what they were doing better. And it was AMAZING to see a few bars and clubs try and copy us too!! (in terms of decor and music)....but being run by narrow minded individuals, it didn't work for them.

without wishing to belittle your efforts scoobs...and fair play to you both for making it work despite some early days issues... would you be able to eek out a livng from the bar alone...?

Thanks all for the replies and info,

I would be a little silly to outline exactly what my plan is for all the web to see but the main focus will be the simple things done (very) well, with impeccable standards and service to boot. I would of course be willing to discuss more in depth on a one to one with individuals willing to offer help and advice.

I have been very successful with my ventures in the uk although I have always been a manager not an owner, I treat the business I run as if they are my own (I find I get a bigger bonus this way :o)

My current record is 10 (yes, I was only 22 when i got my first set of pub keys) years of strong sales growth across 5 different pubs ranging from turnover of £500k net sales to £1.2m net sales.

As I have said I have a LONG way to go before I am ready to take the plunge but that is why I am starting the research now.

once again thanks for your input so far.

then your first port of call is and should be Scoobs

Hey Toon,

To be honest the first place yes 100%, second place was a stop gap until things got sorted. Even in our little town ;) we managed to make enough that if we wanted to live on it we could.

It actually depends on where the bar is looking to be, a bar run with confidence and with a great service will always be the one to go to, you have to look at your clientèle and look at the competitions, don't try and beat them just offer different things, even now in the smallest bar in Malta we are taking 4 figures.

I hope everything is going well for you there man by the way and hope to speak to you soon... maybe you can have a little bar of your own when we come and visit :)


Cheers scoobs,,,,,  nah my days of working for a living are dead and gone mate,,, lol.... too much like hard work and commitment... been there done that got the tshirt and video or is it mp4 now.... am done...

i agree - i personally think, but have never run a bar  - that location is a very important factor as is being kinda unique.... being competetive and offering a highly sociable atmosphere are the keys.

seen so many open and close..........especially in the areas you would initially think they could/would  survive..but alas NO.

All going well here Scoobs - and yes i will be in touch soon as need to update a few things

I will also let you know how i get on with Zbox too. AGs footy addon is superb by the way but my internet is letting it down.

anyway good luck and hope the OP gets in touch with you for an insight.

Email sent scuba. Thanks :-)

will respond today Mate.

I'm the same trying to get myself out there I sent you a email ☺️

Regan1 wrote:

I'm the same trying to get myself out there I sent you a email ☺️

The post you referred to was dated 2014!