Property round-up: Admiral passes 1,000-pub mark

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?
Property moves: which sites have been reopened, revamped or changed hands in the past week?

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A £45m deal for 137 sites from Marston’s has seen Admiral Taverns grow its pub estate past 1,000 venues, while there are new openings for ETM Group, Old Spot Pub Company, Stonegate and Ei Group.

Admiral acquires 137 Marston’s pubs for £45m

Chester-based community pub operator Admiral Taverns has broken the 1,000-site barrier with the purchase of 137 sites from Marston’s.

Admiral’s £44.9m acquisition follows the completion of a deal for 150 tenanted pubs​ from Heineken’s pub arm Star Pubs & Bars – which expanded its portfolio to around 950 wet-led venues across England, Scotland and Wales.

The disposal by Marston’s is in line with plans by the Wolverhampton-based brewer and operator of more than 150 pubs to reduce its £1.39bn net debt by £200m​ before 2023.

ETM unveils London Bridge expansion

London-based premium bar operator ETM Group has announced the opening of its latest site, Redwood Sports Bar & Kitchen, as part of a £1bn redevelopment of London Bridge station.

The group’s latest venue, which will open on 7 November, joins the likes of other London sites: Greenwood, Victoria; Westwood, Westfield London; Long Arm Pub & Brewery, Shoreditch; and Broadleaf, Bishopsgate; in an award-winning estate of premium sport pubs.

A 6,000sq ft venue, Redwood will occupy a glass-fronted, two-storey location in a prominent location by the entrance to London Bridge opposite The Shard and feature 500-litre copper tanks, dispensing a rotating selection of guest craft beers.

“We’re incredibly proud to be expanding our renowned sports pub collection with the launch of Redwood,” Ed Martin, ETM’s CEO explained. “A venue to bring family and friends together with the ambition to create unique sporting memories throughout the year in a high energy, premium setting.

“Our flagship pub, kitchen and sports lounge, Greenwood, has shown that there’s a huge appetite for experience-led venues that deliver on quality food, drink and sport, so we’re thrilled to be opening a new venue at London Bridge station.”

Old Spot Pub Company hits double figures

Ei Managed Investments joint venture, the Old Spot Pub Company, has taken over the Crown & Treaty in Uxbridge, west London, to grow its pub portfolio to 10 sites.

The pubco, which has two further openings earmarked for early 2020, officially opened its latest site – famed for bearing witness to a failed treaty between Oliver Cromwell and King Charles 1 in 1645 – following an extensive modern makeover.

Old Spot Pub Company director Dave Ford said: “Old Spot pubs are welcoming places designed with the local community in mind.

“We’re delighted to be adding the Crown & Treaty to our portfolio – it’s a pub with an incredibly rich heritage that has served the immediate community for centuries.

“We’ve placed great effort and attention to detail in lovingly restoring the site, and we’re immensely excited to launch the hidden garden area, complete with a new bar room over the coming weeks.

“We firmly believe that pubs should be warm community-centric spaces people visit with family, friends and loved ones to enjoy memorable moments.”

Old Spot (1)

Stonegate reopens Hampshire pub after £200,000 refurb

The Greyhound in Aldershot is to reopen on Friday 15 November following a £200,000 investment by Stonegate Pub Company.

The 16th century building has seen given a modern makeover by Stonegate, which has improved the site both inside and out.

Greyhound general manager Alex Marshall said: “This exciting investment has totally transformed the look and feel of our pub, and we are excited to unveil it to the people of Aldershot.

“Whether it’s a daytime pint to watch the sport or coming to enjoy a family Sunday roast, the Greyhound will be a warm and welcoming pub that the whole community can enjoy.”

Inn Collection Group given go-ahead for 40-bedroom site

Plans for a 40-bedroom inn​ in the Sunderland suburb of Seaburn have been approved by the city’s council.

The approval of the seafront pub with rooms, to be built and run by the north-east based The Inn Collection Group, follows a decision by the operator to develop a wholly freehold estate as it continues to roll out ‘buy-and-build’ growth plans that will see it more than double its 10-strong estate by 2022.

“We’re delighted to have the green light to move forward with plans for what will be a fantastic addition to the seaside in Sunderland on a prime coastal spot,” Sean Donkin, managing director of The Inn Collection Group, explained.

“The Inn Collection Group has a proven track record in delivering purpose-built inns operating on a model that provides value for money accommodation, quality beverages and home-made pub fare served all day, 365 days a year to local people and visitors.

“Seaburn will become a popular addition to our portfolio of pubs with rooms in the north’s best-loved destinations, including the Northumberland coast, Durham and the Lake District. We look forward to seeing it rise from the ground, with a view to opening our doors towards the end of 2020.”

Inn Collection

Ei and multiple operator plough £180,000 into reopening

Ei Publican Partnerships has joined forces with multi-operator and director of Sheldon Inns, Martin Cartwright, to revamp and reopen the Chequers Inn in Fladbury, Worcestershire, after a £180,000 joint investment.

Ei’s contribution of £140,000 – which forms part of a capital investment programme of around £80m per year in its estate – will give Cartwright, the operator of six pubs with Ei, the chance to restore the rural venue to its former glory.

“Having only been at the Chequers for a short time, I am hugely excited to have the opportunity to restore life into this pub and revive it as a venue that welcomes both locals and visitors to Fladbury,” Sheldon Inns’ Cartwright explained.

“I am confident that, following the refurbishment, the Chequers Inn will be a great success and bring all members of the local village together, while offering a range of fantastic food and drink teamed with first-class service.

“Ei Publican Partnerships has been extremely supportive throughout this process and working in partnership with the business for many years, I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings.”


Slug & Lettuce launches at London’s O2 arena

Following investment of close to £500,000, Stonegate Pub Company-owned high street chain Slug & Lettuce has launched a new site at London’s O2 arena on the Greenwich Peninsula.

The 20,000-seater arena regularly hosts the best and brightest in live entertainment and sport, with former world heavyweight champion boxer Anthony Joshua a regular attraction in the past.

Slug & Lettuce London O2 general manager Ian Thomas explained: “We’re so excited to be launching another brand-new venue in London.  

“With the new cocktail masterclass stations and VIP booths, the new venue will deliver the perfect backdrop for a night on the tiles and we’re sure people are going to love spending time at the venue whatever the occasion.”

New York-style café-wine bar concept takes coastal site

The former Aqua Restaurant in the East Sussex market town of Lewes has been acquired by Hove-based coffee and wine bar Hixon Green.

The purchase, handled by leisure property specialist Fleurets, sees Hixon Green expand its operation into a modern development in Lewes. The New York-style café and wine bar concept has further plans to expand in Brighton in 2020.

“We are very excited to bring our brand to Lewes as we feel our New York-inspired space offering great coffee, quality brunch, through to evening menus and a super cocktail and wine list, will complement the mix of strong local independent operators alongside high street operators that thrive in this busy town,” a spokesperson for Hixon Green said.

Hixon Green

New Liverpool site promises an end to ‘boring bars’

Found in a secluded location in Liverpool’s business district, Abditory, a neighbourhood bar promising ‘outrageous cheese toasties, great coffee, classic cocktails, beer and good times’, opened on 1 November.

“There are too many boring bars out there, so everything in Abditory is meant to have a sense of fun,” Steven Burgess, co-director of Abditory, said.

“We have referenced and drawn inspiration from some of the best bars around the world and hope to create our own little piece of old-school cool here in Liverpool.

Fellow co-director Josh Moore added: “We are probably only round the corner from your office so mix it up and come to us for your next client meeting or team get-together.”


Puttshack on course to open second London site

Indoor mini golf concept Puttshack has flagged Bank, in the City of London, as the location of its next venue in the capital.

The competitive socialising brand plans to open a 650-capacity site – boasting three nine-hole mini golf courses, all of which feature Trackaball software to digitally keeps track of scores – on 22 November.

The new site will be Puttshack’s third after openings in Westfield shopping centre in London’s White City, and intu Lakeside shopping centre in Thurrock, Essex. Puttshack plans further site openings in 2020, including a venue at intu, Watford, next summer.


St Austell adds Bristol venue to pub estate

Cornish brewer and pub operator St Austell has added the Rising Sun in Pensford, on the outskirts of Bristol, to its estate of more than 175 pubs, inns and hotels across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset and the Isles of Scilly.

St Austell Brewery retail director Steve Worrall said: “The Rising Sun is a really wonderful acquisition for the company and a natural fit with the rest of our tenanted pub portfolio in the Bath and Bristol area, which also includes the Albion in Clifton, and the Lamplighters in Shirehampton. 

“As a business, we have an ongoing strategy to strengthen our award-winning estate of pubs and hotels across the south-west.

“With more than 160 years’ experience of championing the pub as the focal point of the community, we look forward to developing the Rising Sun’s offering in partnership with our new tenants Lisa Faulkner and Becca Fricker.”

Rising Sun

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