Vince Healy has collaborated with pizza chef Michael Wheeler to launch Thirsty Bear pubs. The first site opened on 7 April at the former site of the Wynford Arms in Reading, Berkshire last week following a £500,000 refurbishment.
The operators provided £220,000 for the overhaul, with £280,000 provided by pubco Star Pubs & Bars.
The refit has doubled the pub’s trading area and given the décor a contemporary look, with an open plan pizza kitchen placed at the heart of the site.
Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens welcomed the move, saying: “Thirsty Bear will bring a distinctive and individual concept unlike any other in Reading.”
Healy aims to have six sites for the Thirsty Bear franchise by the end of 2019. “We have been open 12 days so our initial focus is on making sure what we've done in Reading is working,” he added.
The operators will then be seeking out town centre sites in the home counties with capacity for more than 100 covers.