Historic pub reopens after £587k refit
The Grade II listed Great Eastern pub on London’s Isle of Dogs has reopened as the Waterman’s Arms following an extensive £587,000 refurbishment by Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs & Bars.
The wet-led pub, which has been closed since January, was due to reopen in April before the Covid-19 outbreak scuppered its unveiling.
The pub marks the first Star Pubs & Bars lease for operators Laura Lythall and Sam Hawkes, who also run the Ship Inn in Canary Wharf and harbour ambitions of opening a handful sites across the south east by 2030.
“We’re thrilled by the transformation at the Waterman’s Arms and to be open at last as it's been 19 months from application to opening,” Lythall said. “I know the Waterman’s Arms of old having grown up in the area.
“There’s a real need for a pub of this calibre on the Isle of Dogs. It stands out from other places to eat and drink in the area yet will be true to its roots and retain a neighbourhood pub ambience.
“Although we’ve opened during Covid times, we’re still able to source high quality local produce and the layout and staff training lend themselves to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
“We’ve successfully re-opened the Ship following lockdown, which is a small pub, so we are really confident with our Covid safety procedures at the Waterman’s Arms.”
Will Rice, Star Pubs & Bars’ regional operations director said he was “delighted” that Lythall – a former sommelier who has worked front of house at restaurants including the Palomar, Hawksmoor and the Michelin-starred Carters of Moseley – and ex-head chef at the Botanist in Broadgate Cirlce, Hawkes, had taken on the revamped site.
“They have a wealth of experience at top establishments, have run their own well-regarded local pub and know the area well.,” he said. “This investment takes the Waterman’s Arms to a new level and ensures it stands out from other pubs in the area."
Roseacre Pub Company opens ninth site
Midlands-based Roseacre Pub Company has opened a ninth site – its fourth with Star Pubs & Bars – following a £500,000 investment made in tandem with Heineken’s pub arm, creating 40 new jobs.
The Beacon Hotel in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire, has been closed since Christmas after its April reopening was disrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Roseacre’s managing director Michael Thomas, who founded the company in 2014, is now looking to double the size of his estate of suburban pubs across the Midlands.
“I am optimistic about the future as our pubs are all located in suburbs and are doing well,” he said. “The Covid effect - people spending more time at home rather than travelling to work - benefits our business model. We are still looking to expand our business and are always looking for great sites, like the Beacon.”
Star Pubs & Bars’ regional operations director, Helen Fingland, added: “The Beacon’s refurbishment has made it ideal for the socially distanced world we’re now living in.
“It is a fantastic family friendly pub and being based in the suburbs and food focussed – offering top quality and a good value-for-money menu – is likely to be very popular in the coming months. I wish Michael and his team well.”
The Coaching Inn Group purchases 18th venue
Lincolnshire-based specialist hotel and inn operator, The Coaching Inn Group, has acquired its 18th site, the 26-bedroom Talbot Hotel in Malton, North Yorkshire, after reaching an agreement with the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate.
According to its website, the Fitzwilliam Malton Estate is the freehold owner of much of Malton’s commercial property and represents the interests of Sir Philip Naylor-Leyland whose family has owned property in the market town since 1713.
The 17th century Talbot Hotel was relaunched eight years ago following an extensive investment by the estate, and becomes The Coaching Inn Group’s most recent addition after the purchase of the 33-bedroom Rutland Arms Hotel in Bakewell, Derbyshire, in February.
The Group’s CEO Kevin Charity explained that its latest acquisition has saved 40 jobs from possible redundancy and takes the total number of bedrooms in the company’s estate to 515.
Britain’s pubs reopening faster than restaurants
According to the latest Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners, 87% of food-led pubs and 84% of high street pubs have reopened since hospitality businesses were given the green light to reopen on 4 July.
Yet, in comparison just over half (56%) of full-service restaurants and 63% of casual dining restaurants have opened.
The figures also revealed that three quarters (75%) of group-managed venues had reopened in comparison to around half (52%) of independent sites.
What’s more, sites in London were found to be slow to reopen in comparison to other parts of the country, with just 61% of hospitality venues opening in the capital while almost three quarters (73%) of sites in the north east and south west of England were found to be back up and running.
“It is encouraging to see so many pubs back up and running soon after the end of lockdown, but that is in sharp contrast to the casual dining restaurant sector—especially in city centres, where footfall remains well below pre-Covid levels as shoppers, diners and drinkers opt to stay closer to home,” Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA said.
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