Admiral completes acquisition of 150 Star sites
The board of Admiral Taverns has approved the purchase of 150 tenanted community pubs from Star Pubs & Bars.
The deal will see the Chester-based operator’s portfolio rise to around 950 wet-led venues across England, Scotland and Wales.
“On behalf of the entire company, I am delighted to officially welcome our new licensees to Admiral,” the community pub operator’s chief executive Chris Jowsey said.
“Core to our approach is our commitment to invest behind our pubs and licensees, supporting them to build vibrant social hubs that can thrive at the heart of their local communities.
“Our team have been working hard to ensure the integration process for our new licensees has been as smooth as possible and we look forward to developing these new working partnerships.”
Forest Distillery to bring remote Robinsons pub in from the cold
Macclesfield-based Forest Distillery has taken 19th century pub the Cat & Fiddle Inn, on the A537 road linking Knutsford, in Cheshire, and Buxton, in Derbyshire, on a 180-year lease from Stockport-based brewer and pub operator Robinsons.
The remote Cheshire pub, which has been closed since 2015 after sustaining weather damage during a particularly inclement winter, was a favourite among walkers and cyclists.
“The past three years have been challenging,” William Robinson, managing director of Robinsons Brewery’s pubs, explained. “We have owned the Cat & Fiddle for almost 100 years and closing the doors was a very difficult decision but keeping it up and running just wasn’t viable.
“Many people would have sold it, but we wanted the building to have a long-term beneficial use to the community. So before handing over the keys, we had to be sure that a) it was to the right person and b) that the business plan was robust enough to succeed.”
Robinsons and Forest Distillery will embark on an extensive restoration project to restore the historic site to its former glory in time to reopen in spring 2020 as the Cat & Fiddle.
“We are excited, and a little terrified in taking on such a big project,” Lindsay Bond, co-founder of Forest and full-time distiller, explained. “However, we are confident, that with local support, we can create something very special up there.”
Channel 5 Hotel Inspector reveals pub acquisition
Hotelier and star of Channel 5’s The Hotel Inspector, Alex Polizzi, has revealed that her family is buying back the Star Inn in Alfriston near Eastbourne, East Sussex.
The 37-bedroom property – parts of which date to the 13th century – previously belonged to her grandfather Lord Charles Forte, founder of Trust Houses Forte.
Polizzi told the Jeremy Vine TV show: “We’re closing it down at the end of October and it will have seven months of hardcore renovation. I’m so looking forward to getting my teeth into it again.”
The Star is currently listed as ‘sold subject to contract’ by leisure property specialist Fleurets, which is advertising the property’s freehold with a guide price of £2.68m.
Polizzi’s mother, Olga Polizzi, already owns Hotel Tresanton in St Mawes, Cornwall, and Hotel Endsleigh, near Milton Abbot, in Devon.
Former Jamie Oliver restaurant to become a pub
The site of chef Jamie Oliver’s former flagship restaurant and social enterprise, Fifteen, is expected to reopen as a pub after being acquired by the Barworks group.
Fifteen – which opened in 2002 in Old Street, London – ran apprenticeships for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It closed in May along with 21 other sites when the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group entered administration.
Barworks, which recently reopened the former Beef & Brew site in Haggerston under original name the Duke of York, currently operates an estate of 14 London venues, including The Diner chain, Mare Street Market in Hackney, and the White Bear in Smithfield, which is expected to reopen in mid-November.
Pop-up restaurant operator opens first site at saved-from-closure pub
Founded in 2010 as a pop-up restaurant and dinner-dance event host, Disappearing Dining Club has unveiled its first permanent site, the Dartmouth Arms in London’s Kentish Town.
Occupying a Victorian corner pub saved from being developed into flats in 2017, the operator hopes to create a home-from-home offer at the beleaguered north London site, revolving around restaurant-quality food and carefully curated beer and wine.
“It’s been through some tough times over the years, with different owners trying to make it work as a community pub,” according to the Disappearing Dining Club’s founder Stuart Langley.
“We’ve taken a look at what ‘community’ really means in 2019, creating a pub that provides a local pub feel to anyone that walks through the door, whether they live around the corner or on the other side of London.
“It’s about creating a space that people want to be in, home-from-home comforts with a great food and drink offering that suits the modern community.”
Greater Manchester pub to reopen after £210,000 makeover
The Church Inn in Swinton, Greater Manchester, is poised to open its doors for the first time in two years following a transformative £210,000 investment project conducted by 650-pub operator Hawthorn Leisure.
Formerly known as the Bulls Head, the pub will reopen under new management Stephanie Carter and partner Michael Savage on Friday 1 November, having been closed since Boxing Day 2017.
“My mum and dad ran pubs for 30 years, so I’ve been brought up with it, and it’s something I’ve always done since I was 18,” Carter explained.
“There’s real excitement and a buzz about the pub reopening. People are made up, and we’re looking forward to welcoming back the regulars while also attracting new customers.
“One of the things we’re hoping to introduce is weekend entertainment, but something different, not just karaoke – live artists and bands, Northern Soul nights, and maybe drag acts.”
Start-up loan helps community pub reopen
Formerly the Junction Hotel & the Junction Inn in Polegate, East Sussex – now the Junction – has reopened under the management of partners Kerry Scarse and Matthew Bates.
The site, which had become known for antisocial behaviour, has been re-imagined as a communal hub under Scarse and Bates – a member of Hastings Round Table and organiser of Hastings Beer & Music Festival.
“It’s truly satisfying to turn an unloved pub into something valued and enjoyed by residents and visitors,” he explained.
“The restaurant in Polegate will provide a much needed and eagerly anticipated leisure facility for a rapidly expanding area that is currently not catered for at all, as well as create new jobs for local people.”
New owners for historic £1.3m coaching inn
The grade II-listed Blue Ball at Countisbury, near Lynmouth, Devon, has been purchased off a freehold price of £1.295m by experienced hospitality operators Phil and Jan Hills.
The 18th century pub, which attracts large numbers of hikers and history enthusiasts, and generates net sales in excess of £720,000 per annum, according to the deal’s brokers Colliers International, underwent major refurbishment before being purchased by the former operators of the Boathouse at Instow and the Seagate at Appledore – both Devon.
Situated within the Exmoor National Park, the Blue Ball has five separate public areas – including a 120-cover restaurant – 16 letting bedrooms and a well-appointed one/two bedroom flat.
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