Eric Watson is continuing to sell off leading New Zealand-based assets with the award-winning Soul Bar & Bistro being put on the market.

Watson recently sold his multi-million dollar Karaka estate and is understood to be close to confirming a deal with the Auckland Rugby League for the sale of the Warriors NRL team.

Now Soul - the landmark restaurant on Auckland's Viaduct Basin that is co-owned by his Cullen Investments and Judith Tabron - has been put on the market via a tender process.

Watson did not respond to requests for comment this week about the pending sale of the venue - which has achieved iconic status over the past 17 years.

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Businessman, and owner of the NZ Warriors rugby league club, Eric Watson. Photo / Michael Craig
Businessman, and owner of the NZ Warriors rugby league club, Eric Watson. Photo / Michael Craig

But Tabron told the Weekend Herald it was "a joint decision" between her and Watson to sell the top food and beverage venue, which had an annual turnover of more than $10 million.

She felt it was "a good time" to sell. "You've got to make a decision at some point in time."

"It's been a good run. Let somebody else have some fun."

Tabron said she would miss "the people ... working in a tremendous team".

"And also we've had such an incredibly loyal following of customers," she said.

The property is being marketed by Paul Dixon of Bayleys.

Soul Bar & Bistro is one of New Zealand's most decorated food and beverage venues.

Gongs include Best Restaurant category winner in 2009, 2010, and 2012, and supreme winner in 2010 at the Hospitality New Zealand Awards for Excellence. It made Metro magazine's Top 50 restaurants in 2012, '13, '14, '15 and '17.

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The terrace garden at Soul Bar & Bistro in Auckland's Viaduct.
The terrace garden at Soul Bar & Bistro in Auckland's Viaduct.

Signature events, including fashion shows by Yvonne Bennetti, Trelise Cooper and Kathryn Wilson, have been held there making it a hot spot on the city's exclusive social calendars.

Beyonce and Jay-Z, Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron, Russell Brand, Anthony Hopkins and Bono are among the international celebrities who have sat by the water at Soul's famous terrace, overlooking the marina with its multimillion-dollar yachts and launches.

Restaurant Association of New Zealand chief executive Marisa Bidois said Soul Bar & Bistro was "a true staple in the hospitality industry".

Tabron was "a very well respected business owner", Bidois said.

"She has built up an amazing business that has stood the test of time as well, which I think is a major challenge in our industry...

"Judith Tabron has always been very committed to training in her establishment, and I think it really shows in the way her restaurant runs so smoothly."

Judith Tabron at Soul Bar and Restaurant. Photo / Babiche Martens
Judith Tabron at Soul Bar and Restaurant. Photo / Babiche Martens

Soul, which opened in 2001 and has a seating capacity of 250, sits underneath the Sebel Auckland Viaduct Harbour hotel.

Tabron was excited for the waterfront tourist and dining mecca's future.

"For the Viaduct, and Soul as the jewel in the crown from a hospitality destination perspective, summer is also coming up - bringing with it the Volvo Around the World Yacht Race boats, support teams and visitors, along with the cruise ship season. And in 2021, the America's Cup," Tabron said in the Bayleys release.

The Soul Bar & Bistro business is a standalone brand and operation. It is a separate entity from the restaurant and bar's building. Soul is currently on a lease of the premises, running through until 2026, with two further six-year rights of renewal.

The restaurant and bar's building, meanwhile, did not sell at auction on October 25. It was now for sale by private treaty.