Be At One – established in 1998 with the opening of its first bar in Battersea Rise, London – has grown into one of the largest cocktail bar operators in the country boasting 33 city centre venues, 17 of which are in London.
Following its purchase, Stonegate will operate Be At One as a stand-alone eighth format alongside its wider portfolio.
Following the opening of a Be At One site in Soho, London, there are plans afoot to continue the brand’s expansion with a new site expected to open in Chelmsford in July 2018 as well as a second Be At One in Birmingham in August.
While all Be At One’s operational management and head office staff are to be retained, all three original founding directors – Rhys Oldfield, Steve Locke and Leigh Miller – will step away from the business upon completion of the deal.
Novus Leisure sites
Novus Leisure venues sold to Stonegate
- Loop, London, West End
- Fifty 9, London, West End
- Gem, London, West End
- Bar Soho, London, West End
- Village, London, West End
- Foundation, London, West End
- Sway, London, West End
- Forge, London, City
- Kanaloa, London City
- Babble City, London City
- Warwick, London, West End
- Gable, London, City
- Core, London, City
- The Long Acre, London, West End
- Abbey, London, City
Additionally, Stonegate and Novus Leisure, the operator of 41 bars, clubs and restaurants predominantly in London’s West End, have exchanged contracts on 15 London venues.
The venues, which will operate as part of Stonagate’s portfolio, were selected from 26 Novus sites in London and will take Stonegate’s total number of operating venues to 739.
Discussing both the Be At One and Novus Leisure deals, Stonegate chief executive Simon Longbottom commented: “These are both excellent acquisitions for Stonegate that are right in our sweet spot.
“Be At One is a business we know well and have admired for some time. This acquisition is a great cultural fit with our existing portfolio and Be At One’s strong association with the delivery of premium cocktails in high street locations, capitalising on the growing trend of premiumisation, further consolidates Stonegate’s leading position in this market segment.
“We see excellent potential to continue to grow the business, investing in the brand and its people and look forward to learning from Be At One’s legendary cocktail theatre and market-leading customer service skills.
“In addition, the Novus sites being acquired comprise a portfolio of high-quality assets that will further establish our leading credentials in London. Stonegate has a proven track record of success in identifying, unlocking value and ultimately delivering higher returns from the pub and bar assets we acquire. And we are excited about the opportunity these acquisitions present as we continue to build the UK’s leading high street, managed pub and bar business.”
“We look forward to welcoming the Be At One team and colleagues who will be joining Stonegate from Novus into the enlarged group.”
Following the sale and transfer of the teams at the 15 sites to Stonegate Pub Company, Novus Leisure will operate a core portfolio consisting of 10 Balls Brothers, the Sterling at The Gherkin and the three new Tank and Paddle sites.
Toby Smith, chief executive of Novus, commented: “The pivotal decision to divest our venue business and the disposal of 15 of these sites to Stonegate is a transformational step for Novus.
“Once concentrated on its core operations, Novus will be a premium bar/restaurant operator with excellent prospects for expansion. Stonegate is an excellent home for the high-quality venues they are buying and we wish them every success for the future”