London-based multiple operator Fiveeightzero, one of the UK's fastest growing independent pub groups, is opening three more sites in partnership with Mitchells & Butlers (M&B).
Fiveeightzero, which runs the Lock Tavern in Camden, has partnered M&B in opening funky bar/pub hybrids in regional towns and cities.
Its latest opening is Spanky Van Dykes Eatery and Funhouse in Nottingham, which is described as a "bar and cafe for grown-ups", and the Kraken Wakes in Portsmouth — both have opened in the past fortnight and were formerly Scream student venues. A third venue, the Shipping Forecast, is set to open in Liverpool in mid to
Decor in the new Nottingham site includes overstuffed sofas and mismatched chairs with rows of old vinyl 45s, stickers, posters, badges, sketches and a collection of old NHL ice hockey team pennants. One wall has an inflatable toy shark encased in glass.
Manager Simeon Briggs said: "I think student pubs underestimate the customer."
A spokesman for fiveeightzero said: "As a small independent company we tailor the offer to suit our sites.
"Unlike a number of other pub companies rolling out one offer, we feel the marketplace has moved to a new level.
"Our offers can feature bar/pub hybrids with home-cooked food, a fantastic drinks range, real ales and great DJs, but we also have sites specialising in cocktails and live music, from London to Bristol to Leeds.
"Some end up almost nightclubs (open pretty late) and some are straight-forward gastropubs."
The company has seven venues in London, including the Amersham Arms and the Defectors Weld. But it now has nine sites outside the capital.
Aside from the latest openings in Nottingham, Portsmouth and Liverpool, they are: the Cardiff Arts Institute, Cardiff; Bungalows and Bears, Sheffield; Nation of Shopkeepers, Leeds; Oakford Social Club, Reading; Sixty Million Postcards, Bournemouth; and Start the Bus, Bristol.
Nine of its venues are joint ventures with M&B.