Sports Bar & Grill to diversify into pubs with rooms

By Rob Willock

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Sports bar, Public house, City of london

London-based sports-bar operator Sports Bar & Grill is planning to diversify into boutique pubs with rooms, having secured its first site for the new format in Tottenham Court Road.

Owner David Evans said that he has exchanged on a 24-year Spirit tied lease for the Mortimer Arms.

He intends to trade the pub “as it is” before re-launching it as the Mortimer
Belle Public House and Hotel in 2013.

“If it is successful we’ll look at opening a further four or five Belle-branded pubs and hotels in central London,” said Evans.

The company is “down to the last three” firms being considered for Unit 1 at Blackfriars station in London. Evans describes his Blackfriars concept, “which could be up and running within six weeks”, as a take-away and alfresco Sports Bar & Grill, with 200 river-side seats.

“It will be our equivalent of a Sainsbury’s Local or a McDonald’s drive-thru.”
Sports Bar & Grill is considering a pop-up bar in partnership with Heineken at King's Cross for the Diamond Jubilee, Olympics and Euro 2012 football tournament.

Other opportunities being explored for 2013 include bars at Euston, London Bridge and Canary Wharf, plus extensions to sites at Victoria and Marylebone — the latter to involve a potential tie-up with Travelodge.
Evans is also making enquiries about a first airport site at Luton.

He said: “We’ve grown at a steady pace — one site per year — without much bank debt. But even with these plans we won’t seek private equity.”

Related topics: MA500 Business Club, Sport

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