London operators to open 8 pubs in south-west

By Emily Hawkins contact

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Go south-west: The Johnson Collective has made a joint investment in its first pub outside of London
Go south-west: The Johnson Collective has made a joint investment in its first pub outside of London

Related tags: South west

A trio of multi-operators have partnered with Star Pubs & Bars to make a £350,000 joint investment to open their first pub outside of London.

The site in Porthtowan Beach, Cornwall, will be the first pub with rooms for Taskin Muzaffer, Pru Clarke and Gareth Crosby of The Johnson Collective.

The pub – which will be called the Unicorn On The Beach – is the group’s first venture in the region and will open in August.

It plans to open about eight sites in total in the south-west within the next five years.

The Cornwall site will be styled in a retro fashion and feature five en-suite bedrooms and a ‘surf house’ that will sleep 20 people in pods in the style of dorm rooms.

An outside terrace will be substantially extended with new furniture to make the most of the pub’s coastal location. This will mean a total of 190 covers outside, treble its current capacity.

Unrealised potential 

Taskin Muzaffer said: “We’ve been wanting to open a pub in Cornwall for some time and the Unicorn on the Beach ticks all our boxes – a fantastic beach-side location, a site with unrealised potential and an opportunity to provide accommodation for the increasing number of staycationers and surf enthusiasts.”

The pub will bid to appeal to both tourists and local customers, she added.

She said: “Around 4.5m people each year stay at least one night in Cornwall and 14m people visit just for the day, which makes it very appealing.  

“It’s also the only pub in town. So, we want it to be a real neighbourhood pub, a hub of the community and are putting in place entertainment to make it a year-round venue and introducing a special ‘locals’ discount.

Muzaffer added: “The leased and tenanted model is great for us because it doesn’t tie up our capital and we can grow more quickly.”

Exceptional neighbourhood pub

Star Pubs & Bars regional operations director Neil Convery said the pub could flourish with the investment, which was part of £50m being spent by Heineken on pubs this year.

He said: “We’re delighted to be co-investing with The Johnson Collective to create a truly unique pub with rooms and great locally sourced food in an incredible beach-side location. They are a highly experienced and well-regarded team.

“Their vision is to create an exceptional neighbourhood pub for all seasons, all occasions and all age groups. 

“Pubs like these need this type of investment and great operators like these to flourish in the long-term.”

The Johnson Collective currently has two pubs, two restaurants and a distillery in its portfolio and is also set to reopen its first site with Star Pubs & Bars later this year.

The former Grand Union in Chancery Lane, London, will be reopened as a bar and restaurant, called Shutters.

Related topics: Star Pubs & Bars

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