Regional report

What makes Nottingham a good place to own a pub?

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Many strings to its bow: Nottingham has matured from its hedonistic days of old
Many strings to its bow: Nottingham has matured from its hedonistic days of old

Related tags: Property, Public house, Beer

Investors are arrowing in on Nottingham and its surrounding towns – especially so since the city introduced a saturation zone 15 years ago.

Nottingham in numbers

  • Nottingham has an estimated population of 331,100
  • Working age population (16-64) of 230,700 ​people (Source: ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates 2018)
  • Population projections suggest that this may rise to around 344,300 ​by 2027
  • Nottingham’s employment rate is 63.4%​ (Source: Oct 2015-Sept 2016: NOMIS)
  • There are 214 ​pubs in the city providing employment for 4,531 ​people (Source: British Beer & Pub Association)

The City of Nottingham has been the centre of much history and folklore. It was the home, or so history says, of Robin Hood and his historical ­fight with the Sheri‑ of Nottingham.

Nottingham has a lot more history than just Robin Hood and has been at the centre of some major inventions.

It was a University of Nottingham professor that created the first MRI machine, Raleigh bikes were created in Nottingham as well as ibuprofen, Boots pharmacy, the video cassette recorder, Tarmac and even HP Sauce.

Crusades fame

Done deals

The Turks Head, Maltby le Marsh, Lincolnshire

Turks Head

Price: £399,500

Tenure: Freehold

Wet:dry split: 35:65

Agent: Guy Simmonds 01332 865112

This property is located close to the Lincolnshire Wolds. Its trading area has a bar/lounge (30-plus covers), a bar server of wood construction with two cask ales, restaurant/dining (26c) and an alfresco patio area. It also has a commercial catering kitchen, ground floor beer cellar, and owner’s accommodation with three bedrooms. To the rear of the grassed garden and sectioned off by a large hedge is a 10-pitch caravan site with electric hookups, shower and toilet facilities.

The Black Horse Inn, Giggleswick, North Yorkshire

Black Horse (3)

Price: Offers over £350,000

Tenure: Freehold

Agent: Davey Co 0333 200 8788

This inn and freehouse is situated in a picturesque North Yorkshire village. The pub has characterful lounge bars and dining for around 50 covers, as well as an attractive seating terrace and car park. There are three letting bedrooms rated four-star all with en-suite facilities.

And its pub claim to fame is that it boasts the oldest surviving pub in the UK – Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem – which was built in 1189. The pub, now owned by Greene King, got its name when King Richard the Lionheart and his men congregated there before embarking on the Crusades in Jerusalem.

A lot has happened to the pub trade since Richard the Lionheart. The city now has two universities, two famous football teams, a diverse mix of cultures and a castle.

Office of National Statistics mid-year estimates for 2018 put the city population at 331,100 with 43,300 students.

And there are plenty of pubs and venues in the city to cater for that population. According to the British Beer & Pub Association, there are 214 pubs providing employment for 4,531 people.

Nottingham, as a trading area, has had some issues that prompted the introduction of a saturation zone in the city in 2005, which restricted the number of new licences granted. Despite this, the number of premises licences selling alcohol in the city increased slightly from 966 in 2012 to 1,047 in 2018.

Growing brand

Nottingham (3)

The city now boasts a range of high street brands as well as multiple operators and independents.

Pub People, the 60-strong pub chain, has operated in the east Midlands for 20 years and has three pubs in the city. It recently opened its third venue with Star Pubs & Bars in the former Keogh’s site, which it has transformed into its second Six Barrel Drafthouse concept.

Pub People operations director Andy Crawford says Nottingham has faced a number of challenges but it is an “exciting time” for the city.

He says: “Around 20 years ago, it had a poor reputation. In the past 10 years, the stakeholders within the city Nottingham business improvement district (BID), police and council have worked really hard to improve the reputation and the safety of the city.”

Farewell to hedonism-only nights

Nottingham (4)

Crawford, who was a former director at the BID, argues that it has been the driving force encouraging the quality and improvement of venues in the area. The region also has a Purple Flag, an award-winning Pubwatch and a large Best Bar None scheme.

“Twenty years ago, it tended to be just the hedonistic night out. Now Nottingham has a much more mature, quality-based mix of operations,” he argues.

“It is attracting more customers who are coming in from the suburbs much more than they did 20 years ago because they were hesitant as to whether it was safe.”

He says the increased safety of the city has meant that the landscape has become “really attractive” and that has brought in not just leisure but residential and office developments.

“I put my money in Nottingham because I know I am going to get support from people like the BID and the customers that are quality driven,” he says.

Crawford says the police and council are more likely to listen to quality operators looking for new licences but admits there has been an impact on the city with the saturation zone.

“The effect is that large operators couldn’t come in because they couldn’t get a licence but, secondly, it has made the smarter operators work with what they have got and make the most of it,” he argues.

Nottingham (5)

Of growing importance

However, the city retains some challenges, such as the floor space for operators being relatively small, he admits.

Meanwhile, Star Pubs & Bars, which works with Pub People, has eight tenanted and leased sites in the city including the Peacock Hotel, the Royal Children and the Parliament Bar.

Star Pubs & Bars business development manager for Nottingham Craig Nevins says the pub scene boasts a mix of independents, particularly in the bohemian Hockley area, and casual-dining brands like Turtle Bay, Bill’s and Wagamama plus plenty of managed bars.

“Nottingham is vibrant and fast paced with lots of investment at the new Broadmarsh Centre and Nottingham Castle,” he says.

“Already a key city in the Midlands, it is going to become more important in the next few years, attracting companies, investment and more people living and working in the area.”

Nottingham (2)

Mojo rediscovered

This is a view supported by Paul Davey, managing director at Davey Co, who agrees the city is having a renaissance.

“Nottingham is rediscovering its mojo. It lost quite a lot of traction a few years ago and is really battling back,” he says.

“Historically, it was always the licensed leisure entertainment centre for the Midlands. People used to come from as far as Birmingham for the nightlife, bars and restaurants.”

Much of the loss of traction was due to the lack of investment and “deterioration” of the city centre, Davey says, while other cities in the region such as Leeds and Sheffield had undergone development.

“The major thing that is going on at the moment is the redevelopment of the Broadmarsh shopping centre by Intu, which is going to be quite transformational,” Davey reveals.

He adds that the city has a good industrial base with major employers such as Boots, John Player and Sons, and Siemens, as well as a large teaching hospital.

But it’s not just the city centre that has an opportunity for operators but there is a thriving suburban market in areas such as West Bridgeford.

“The suburban towns round Nottingham city are doing really well and that is where there is greater opportunity,” he adds.

To find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy visit our property site​.

Related topics: Property law

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