Property round-up

UK’s ‘biggest beer hall’ to open, 20 BrewDog sites under construction, Whiting & Hammond administration

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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Whiting & Hammond's managing director has acquired three of the operators sites from administrators, BrewDog has provided an update on 20 new sites worldwide and Truman's Brewery has unveiled plans to open what it claims will be the UK's 'biggest beer hall'.

Three Whiting & Hammond sites saved from administration 

Kent-based gastro-pub operator Whiting & Hammond has been placed into administration as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to reports, with managing director Brian Whiting acquiring three of its sites under the new name WH Pubs, saving 150 jobs. 

WH Pubs will manage Kent pubs the Little Brown Jug near Penshurst; the Cricketers Inn in Meopham; Green Street Green’s the Rose & Crown as well as the Chaser Inn in Shipbourne. 

A spokesman from administrators Turpin Barker Armstrong told The Eastbourne Herald​: “We can confirm that Whiting and Hammond, which operated a pub restaurant business in Sussex, Surrey and Kent, has entered administration. 

“The joint administrators have successfully achieved the sale of three sites and are exploring whether there can be any rescue of other sites.”

Whiting also told The Eastbourne Herald​: "It will come as no surprise that, during this past year, the hospitality sector has endured a torrid time as a result of the pandemic and the forced closure for three and a half months.

“There has been help to a degree from the government but, sadly, this doesn’t go anywhere near the expenses that needed to be covered. 

“Sadly, not for the lack of trying and the continuing added Covid restrictions such as the 10pm curfew, this has not been possible, and unfortunately on 30 September, we called in the administrators. 

"It breaks my heart to see the four pubs (The Farm Friday Street, Eastbourne, The Mark Cross Inn, Mark Cross, The Blue Ball Inn, Walton on the Hill & The Kings Head Bessels Green) that we have built up over the past 18 years disappear and the fantastic people that have been on this epic journey lost.” 


Work in progress at 20 new BrewDog bars 

Scottish craft brewer and bar operator BrewDog has revealed that it has 20 new bars in various stages of construction around the world. 

The operator of more than 100 sites globally is currently working on UK openings in Plymouth, Exeter, Manchester, Chelmsford, Basingstoke, Bath, Ealing, Headingley, Huddersfield, Bradford, Lincoln and Belfast. 

As recently reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​, its new Headingly opening will see the craft brewer team up with Red's True Barbecue​.

Internationally, the company plans to open sites in the US city of Cleveland, Shanghai, Frankfurt, Bangalore, Wiesbaden in Germany, Mumbai and a second site in Paris. 

“Feels like a crazy time to be expanding but we currently have 20 brand new bars at various stages of construction,” co-founder James Watt recently told The Yorkshire Evening Post​

“These bars will all be carbon negative and will create more than 400 new jobs at a time when job creation is badly needed all over the world.”


UK’s ‘biggest beer hall’ to open at Truman’s brewery 

East London events space Truman’s brewery is to launch what it claims will be the UK’s largest beer hall on 29 October. 

The 700-capacity Truman’s Social Club beer hall and street food market will open on Blackhorse Lane in Walthamstow where its creators’ 50,000sq ft, 250,000HL capacity,​ HQ is currently found.

The 26,000 square foot venue will also feature 20 brews on tap from both Truman’s and guest beer makers as well as a rotating line-up of East London food traders.

The space has been specifically designed for social distancing, with features such as maximised ventilation and minimal customer touch points considered. 

Truman’s Social Club will be open all day, seven days a week and while most of its tables will be bookable some will be reserved for walk-ins.

Though sold off and closed down in the ’80s, Truman’s was at one time one of the UK's foremost breweries when it operated out of Brick Lane. 

It was relaunched in 2010 by now CEO James Morgan who based the brewer at a £1m site in Hackney Wick between 2013 and the opening of its Walthamstow home in Spring 2020. 


Former rugby league star buys Yorkshire Dales pub

A traditional village pub located in the town of Muker, North Yorkshire, has been sold to retired rugby league player-turned hospitality entrepreneur, Andy Gascoigne.

Found in the Upper Swaledale district of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Farmers Arms was sold off a freehold asking price of £575,000.

Gascoigne, who owns Haworth Steam Brewery and Haworth Gins, commented: “My wife and I have wanted to buy a pub for some time now and we know Muker and the Farmers Arms very well. 

“We already have a brewery and drinks business, so we are no strangers to the licensed trade. 

“We’ve got some exciting plans for the pub and look forward to getting our teeth into it over the next few weeks and months.”

David Cash, associate director at Christie & Co, commented: “We are currently seeing increased buyer demand for hospitality businesses by the coast or in the countryside, as many prospective buyers are looking for an alternative lifestyle, whilst capitalising on the recent staycation boom seen across the UK – the result of limits to international travel imposed by Covid-19.  

“As a company we have brokered sales of more than 150 hospitality businesses nationwide since the 1 April and we expect to agree on many more in the coming months.”


Plonk Crazy Golf launches Peckham site 

Founded by a group of film industry set designers, London-based crazy golf concept Plonk has announced that it has taken over space in Peckham Levels to create its biggest nine-hold venue to date with social distancing in mind. 

Alongside a bar stocking local brews and classic cocktails, Plonk will boast floor to ceiling ball lifts, huge ball runs, loops, ramps, jumps and an arcade lined with pinball machines, retro arcade cabinets, foosball tables and ping pong.

"It's so good to finally be able to offer South London some of our Plonk madness,” Elliot Scott, co-founder of Plonk, commented. 

“Our new space will be one of the biggest to date and create one the safest, socially distanced spots in town. 

“All the usual Plonk toys will be there providing our signature token of entertainment, but we'll be aiming to create a course like no one has seen in the capital before. 

“We can't wait to open.”

The first 200 bookings at the new venue will receive a free drink on arrival.


New tenants at Thomas Tripp pub for first time in 21 years 

Pub-restaurant and live music venue Thomas Tripp in Lymington, Hampshire – on the southern edge of the New Forest National Park – has been leased to local business partners Henry Fry and Joe Hibberd after more than two decades under its previous owners.

The partners have already installed a two-tap keg system, a live fire kitchen and are also serving takeaway products. 

“We both grew up in Lymington and the Thomas Tripp was always our last spot on a night out,” Fry commented. “When the opportunity to acquire the Thomas Tripp presented itself we thought it would be the perfect time to turn our passion for food and drink into reality.  

“The Thomas Tripp is a perfect fit for what we want to do and we love that we can put our own stamp on it.

“We are hoping to re-open by mid-November,” he continued. “The Thomas Tripp will remain a pub, offering drinks by independent brewers and cider makers and wine producers.  

“The former live music room will house a contemporary British restaurant with an ever changing seasonal and locally sourced menu.  

“On top of this we will have a take-away bottle shop set up providing pints, cans and bottles to be enjoyed at home.”

Chris Bickle, director in the licensed leisure team at Savills Southampton, added: “As the lockdown restrictions eased, interest in the pub increased significantly, which was replicated across other desirable coastal and market town locations in the southern region. 

“The Thomas Tripp is well configured to provide customers with space and amenity, which is increasingly important.”


25,000 fewer licensed premises open now than before lockdown

As reported by The MA​, Britain has almost 25,000 fewer restaurants, pubs, bars and other licensed sites open than it did prior to Covid-19 lockdown in March, new research from CGA and AlixPartners has found.

The latest Market Recovery Monitor revealed just over 90,000 premises across Britain were trading at the end of September, compared to around 115,000 licensed premises recorded by CGA in March.

While the number of licensed premises operating increased by a net figure of nearly 4,000 sites in September, this is a sharp decrease on the 15,500 sites that opened during August, when increased consumer spending and the popularity of the Government-backed Eat Out to Help Out scheme encouraged many operators to resume trading.   

Read more here​.

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