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Inc Bar Group buys Elbow Room

From The Publican

By Hamish Champ , 18-Feb-2008

Bar operator the Elbow Room has been acquired by US leisure entrepreneur Frank Dowling for an undisclosed sum.

The deal, which is expected to complete in April, was the result of an unsolicited approach and takes Dowling's Inc Bar group, his South East London bar empire, to 26 sites.

The award-winning Elbow Room has five "upscale" pool bars in London, Bristol and Leeds, as well as The Woods whisky bar, also in Bristol.

The units are said to have a combined turnover of £6m a year, boosting Inc Bar's turnover to around £30m.

Elbow Room founder Justin Carter said it was a "good time" to sell the business.

"I need to move on to other challenges and I've every confidence that Frank and his team can add value to the business," he added.

Dowling said the Elbow Room brand had "great potential" given that activity-based experiences are in a growth phase: "It's all about having something to do in addition to having a drink or a bite to eat."