Whelan and the pub company plan to invest £500,000 to transform the shut-down site into a Whelans, a top-end Irish pub creating 12 jobs. The operator also plans to open two more sites later this year in south London, which will increase its portfolio to eight pubs.
Renovation of the Acorn 20 site, which had previously been closed for 18 months, started on 11 June and will last for five weeks.
Alfresco dining and drinking
The Whelans bar in Kingston will have an emerald green exterior with black and gold signage and a courtyard garden for alfresco dining and drinking with seating for 25 to 30 people.
In keeping with the other two Whelans pubs, in Neasden and Uxbridge, the Kingston interior has been designed to resemble a traditional Irish street scene with shop fronts as a backdrop. It will have colourful tiles and wood panelling, as well as “plenty of snugs” for groups and an open area for live entertainment.
Whelans will open for breakfast in the morning, lunch and will serve traditional pub food in the evening, including Irish-influenced dishes such as steak and Guinness pie, Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, and a great Sunday roast. It will screen rugby, golf, racing and other live Sky Sport shows on 10 screens and offer live music five nights a week, including one night of traditional Irish music.
The bar will offer a wide selection of wines, craft beer, Irish malt whiskeys and top-quality gins.
'Stand the test of time'
Whelan said: “I’ve put my name to the Whelans brand and so it is important to me that it represents the very best in Irish hospitality and is valued by the communities they serve. I want the bars to stand the test of time and, ultimately, be run by my children, not disappear after 10 years.
“Both the Whelans we opened last year are trading above target, proof that the concept in the right place is a winner.
“We’ve chosen to take on further sites with Star as we have a great relationship with them. They are a good company to partner with, providing investment and business building support when we need it.”
Dugald Macer, regional operations director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Austin is a very experienced pub operator with high standards and a clear vision. It’s great that he’s giving Acorn 20 a new direction and is supporting local talent through the entertainment that Whelans will offer. We wish him well with this latest venture and look forward to helping him develop his portfolio further later this year.”