Property round-up

Las Iguanas and Café Rouge operator to trial pub concept, Big Smoke to open fifth site

By Stuart Stone

- 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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The company behind Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas has announced plans to trial a new pub concept while Big Smoke Brew Co, Shepherd Neame and Stonegate have unveiled pub refurbs.

Pub concept trial for Café Rouge operator

Casual Dining Group – the operator behind brands including Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas – has revealed plans to trial new pub format, the Mulberry, at a former Café Rouge site in Coventry.

The Mulberry is described as: “Your local place to eat, drink and meet – all day from breakfast through to last orders. Not just a pub, it’s the heart of your neighbourhood. Comfort and nostalgic dishes are on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and our bar offers a mix of draught and packaged beer, affordable wine, a stylish list of spirits and great coffee.”

The new venue will join Casual Dining Group’s two pubs at Heathrow Airport and one at Jersey Airport – which operates under its Ale & Coffee House concept.

“We can confirm we are changing this one site to an all-day eating and drinking concept called the Mulberry, which we feel will suit well the area,” a spokesperson for Casual Dining Group said.

“We successfully run similar concepts in airports, with our Ale & Coffee House brand, and this very much fits into that style of informal offer.”

Lord Nelson gets £330,000 facelift

Kent-based brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame has completed a watershed £330,000 refurbishment project at riverside pub the Lord Nelson in Dover.

Dating back to 1805, the pub – which boasts views of Dover Castle and the River Dour – has been overhauled with the help of new licensee and entrepreneur Chris Bichard.

“I was looking for a new business opportunity and started looking at Dover because it is a really up-and-coming town,” Bichard explained. “When I saw that the Lord Nelson was available, it seemed ideal. I know Shepherd Neame well and could see that the site had lots of potential due to its location next to the river and also to the new retail park.

“Our aim is to create a friendly, relaxed bar with a great food and drink offer, where everyone feels welcome.”

Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame added: “With the exciting regeneration of Dover currently under way, we thought it was the perfect time to invest in bringing the Lord Nelson back to life.

“Our team has done a great job bringing out the character and personality of the building, and we are thrilled to welcome our new licensee Chris and his family, who have a very clear vision for the site. We are confident that it will prove a popular drinking and dining destination.”

Property (6)

Big Smoke to open fifth site

Surrey-based brewer Big Smoke Brew Co has announced that 180-year-old pub – the Lord Raglan in Wokingham – will join its estate of four trading pubs in mid-March after the completion of a £350,000 refurb.

“We really like the town and we think it’s got a great feel,” the brewery’s co-founder Rich Craig explained. “It’s got the right demographic for us and we feel we can bring something a little bit new and different to the area. We’ve got a lot of confidence in the area especially with the redevelopment that’s going on in the town centre. It’s a great time to move to the town.

“We’re already planning to partner with local breweries Siren and Elusive, which are based in Finchampstead, and also Double-Barrelled, which is in Reading,” he continued.

“And we’re always looking to strike up new relationships. We’d love to collaborate with people from across the area who are producing something unique – and not just beer.

“Pubs are about community and it’s one thing we’re very mindful of. We want to find out what makes the area tick and become a part of it.”

Hastings pub sells off £795,000 asking price

The Jenny Lind in Hastings, East Sussex, has been sold off an asking price of £795,000 after a decade under its previous owner.

The live music venue – which accommodates more than 200 guests and boasts six en-suite hotel rooms – was sold to London-based multiple operator Kieran Canavan by Linda Challis who made the decision to sell the business after 10 years at its helm and retire from the trade.

“The pub has been a massive part of my life and I will be sad to see it go due to the amount of memories that myself and my late husband Keith had here, that I will cherish forever. But I am looking forward to the next chapter.”

James Hughes, senior business agent at Christie & Co, which handled the sale commented: “It has been pleasure working with the seller, Linda, on this and I am very happy to have brokered a sale for her.

“The pub attracted plenty of interest, as expected, and we managed to achieve a strong price with the sale to Kieran.”

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Stonegate stumps up £200,000 for Squirrel in Farnborough

Stonegate Pub Company is to reopen the Squirrel in Farnborough, Hampshire, under its Classic Inns brand after a £200,000 refit.

Helen Marshall, general manager of the Squirrel, hopes locals will go nuts for new-look pub.  

“This exciting investment has totally transformed the look and feel of our pub, and we are excited to unveil it to the people of Farnborough,” she explained.

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

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