Property round-up

BrewDog eyes new Kennels, Florist branches out, Michelin-star chef to open beach bar

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?

Related tags Finance Property Pubco + head office Tenanted + leased Freehouse

While Mitchells & Butlers and Revolution Bars Group have announced closures in the past week, the likes of the New World Trading Company, BrewDog, Loungers and Michelin-star chef Michael Caines have provided updates on new sites.

BrewDog chasing first beer hotel in England 

Independent Scottish brewer and bar operator BrewDog is pursuing planning permission in a bid to get its paws on its first beer hotel in England, featuring a rooftop fire pit and barbecue, at the site of a currently vacant three-storey office building in Manchester’s Fountain Street. 

If approved, the Ellon-based operator of more than 100 sites worldwide, will transform the site into an 18-bedroom boutique hotel featuring a 150-cover bar and restaurant on the ground floor. 

The Manchester-based branch of its Kennels hotel brand would join similar BrewDog sites already operating in Scotland and the United States.

News of BrewDog’s potential expansion comes as the operator revealed that it has secured a £25m financial spur​through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) in a bid to endure the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Additionally, as reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​​​, BrewDog recently announced that it had hit an initial crowdfunding target of £7.5m for its Equity for Punks Tomorrow scheme,​​​ which launched in September – raising £1m in less than 48 hours.

What’s more, it’s understood the operator is currently working on UK openings​​ in Plymouth, Exeter, Manchester, Chelmsford, Basingstoke, Bath, Ealing, Headingley, Huddersfield, Bradford, Lincoln and Belfast.


Michelin-star chef to open Exmouth beach bar 

Michael Caines, best known for his five-AA-star Lympstone Manor luxury hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant, has unveiled plans for a bar, restaurant, cafe and patisserie in Exmouth as part of the Devon town’s seafront regeneration.

Caines will open Mickeys Beach Bar and Café Patisserie Glacerie with longstanding colleague Sylvain Peltier in in March 2021 at Exmouth’s Sideshore, a water sports and leisure development. 

In what will be the most casual venue in the restaurateur’s group, Mickeys’ ground floor bar, dining room and seafront terrace will offer food to eat in or take away and will have resident DJ at the weekends. 

“Mickeys has been in development for five years and I am so excited to see the building finally come to life,” Caines said. “The interior space, designed with Design Command, is fun, vibrant and in tune with its surrounds and has the most remarkable views across the bay of Lyme. 

What’s more, serving French pastries, house-made gelato ice-cream, coffee and milkshakes alongside grab and go hot pies and Cornish pasties, sandwiches and salads, Caines and Peltier’s first Café Patisserie Glacerie franchise will open adjacent to Mickeys. 

“I am proud and excited to be opening with Michael our first Café Patisserie Glacerie on the beautiful Exmouth seafront,” Peltier said.

“This has been a dream of ours for the past 15 years and seeing the project come together is mind blowing. Being able to share your passion with others is an invaluable gift and we cannot wait to soon share it with you all.”

M&B to close ‘a number of sites’ 

The operator of brands such as All Bar One, Sizzling Pubs and Toby Carvery, Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), has announced its intention to close a number of leasehold sites.

The Telegraph​ reported that M&B would be closing 20 sites, which make up about 1.12% of the pub company’s 1,700-strong estate.

“As announced in September, M&B reopened the vast majority of its estate, approximately 95%, after the first lockdown ended,” a spokesperson for M&B said.

“The remaining sites have been under review on a case-by-case basis since, taking into account factors such as expected footfall and business layout.

“We have taken the difficult decision not to reopen some of these sites and are working with leaseholders on next steps.” 

This comes just over a month after the pub company announced redundancy consultations for staff. 

The operator, which employs some 44,000 workers, said it was unable to confirm any numbers at present and put the redundancies down to the latest Government restrictions.

Read more here

​Liverpool-based licensee purchases pub from Hawthorn Leisure

Longstanding Liverpool pub licensee Carol Ross has completed the purchase of Grade II listed Edwardian era pub the Roscoe Head in Liverpool City Centre from New River REIT’s pub arm, Hawthorn Leisure.

Named after prominent 19th​ century anti-slavery campaigner William Roscoe, the pub has been in Ross’ family for more than thirty years and is one of the remaining “famous five” pubs ever present in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guides since its first edition in 1974.

Formerly a tied Punch site, the Roscoe Head was sold to Hawthorn Leisure in 2016 as part of a 158-pub package. 

Having seen her right to a free-of-tie deal disappear as a result of the sale – with Hawthorn Leisure not regulated by pubs code legislation – Ross has finally purchased the pub’s freehold after years of campaigning, which has also seen the pub nominated as an Asset of Community Value.

“I am delighted that at last, having been trying for so long, I have now bought the Roscoe Head, the very special historic pub that has been in my family for decades,” Ross explained. 

“I am truly elated that this has finally come to fruition, at times I thought this battle was never ending, there is only so much stress you can live with and the time nearly came for me to just walk away, but I stuck with it and I am so glad I did, as I would have felt I was letting my family and customers down otherwise. 

“I am looking forward to seeing you all back to celebrate when we can open up with no curfew and safe conditions,” she continued. 

“Now we need to open our pubs normally with no curfew and let us run our pubs in a safe and organised manner which we do every day we open our doors.

“We police our pubs and keep our families safe every day. That is what we do and I can’t wait to do it, now as the very proud owner of my pub, the Roscoe Head”.


Revolution CVA approved, six sites to close

As reported by The MA​, Revolution Bars Group has had a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) for subsidiary Revolution Bars Limited approved.

While three quarters (75%) of creditors were needed to approve the arrangement, more than 88% voted in favour of the proposal with in excess of 75% of unconnected creditors following suit.

In accordance with relevant statutory provisions, there is a 28-day period following the filing of the report in which a creditor may apply to court to challenge the CVA.

Revolution Bars Limited includes 51 Revolution branded leasehold bars and following the CVA approval, with six bars to close imminently and reduced rental terms agreed on seven other bars which are now subject to turnover-based rents with minimum rental thresholds for the duration of the two year CVA period. 

The nationwide operator also revealed an update on its financial position alongside the CVA’s approval in which it estimated that its cash flow – before one-off costs implementing the CVA of about £1.1m – will improve over the two-year CVA period by about £4m.

Net bank debt is currently £13.5m compared to current committed bank facilities of £37.2m, which will reduce to £29.3m at the end of March next year and to £28.1m at the end of June 2021.

Read more here.


Night club launches crowdfund to avoid closure 

London nightclub Egg has hatched a £200,000 crowdfunding scheme in an attempt to prevent its permanent closure as part of the Music Venue Trust’s SaveOurVenues campaign.

“Egg London have been a part of the music industry in London for the past 17 years,” organisers said. “We're crowdfunding because we need your help to save our venue. Like many other venues, this pandemic has destroyed the dance industry and we haven't been able to open since March. 

“Our main achievement is to make sure we can keep up with our payments to our staff and rent, enough to get us ready for when we're able to open back up.” They contunued: 

“Our music venue risks permanent closure because of the coronavirus pandemic. No venue expected this to happen and it has caused all funds to be sucked into keeping staff and the venue secure over the past eight months.  

“If we cannot cover these expenses then the venue will be permanently closed.” 

New World Trading Company announces Florist expansion

The Graphite Capital-backed New World Trading Company (NWTC) has announced that bar concept the Florist will be branching out to Chester’s new Northgate development. 

Following successful launches in Liverpool, Bristol and Watford, The Florist will join the likes of Spanish Restaurant Group-owned Tapas Revolution, Loungers’ Cosy Club concept and Picturehouse Cinema in taking space at the forthcoming city centre development. 

Part of NWTC’s 29-site stable – which includes The Botanist, The Club House and The Oast House brands – The Florist’s latest site is due to open in spring 2022 and will occupy an 8,600 square foot space spanning two floors. 

“We have been watching the plans for the redevelopment of Chester Northgate for some time and we believe this is the ideal opportunity for us to grow our business in such a vibrant destination,” NWTC property director Tim McCormac said.   

“The Northgate scheme with its distinctive historic and cultural heritage aligns perfectly with our wider brand vision making it the ideal next home for us.” 


£1m crazy golf concept to hit London

Award-winning dining and leisure development, Pop Golf, is set to launch in February 2021 at Boxpark Wembley.

Combining crazy golf and pop music, the £1m competitive socialising concept from entertainment group The Purists of Play boasts holes designed to reflect the aesthetics of pop videos. 

“Our mission with Pop Golf was to create a rich experience that tells a story,” Pop Golf owner Allan Saud explained. “This is not just another standard crazy golf course, this is a celebration of music.  

“From the design to the innovative and sustainable drinks menu, to the team behind it and the brands we’re partnering with, pop music has led the way.  

“We want our guests to rock up to Pop Golf, have an awesome time and leave feeling that music has the power to change the world.”


Loungers poised for Black Country bow  

The operator of 168 café bars under its Lounge and Cosy Club brands, Loungers, is set to open its first site in the Black Country next month by expanding its site rollout to Wolverhampton. 

Found in the site of a former Topshop, Lupo Lounge, will open on 16 December.

The news comes after Loungers revealed that estate-wide like-for-like sales increased by 25.1% over the 13 weeks to 4 October. 

The Group also revealed that it opened two new sites over the same 13-week period.

According to the Group’s latest update, Ponto Lounge in Hull and Cosy Club in Birmingham’s Brindley Place in Birmingham, grew its portfolio to 167 sites as of 4 October 2020. 

What’s more, in addition to the more recent opening of Sentado Lounge in Sittingbourne, Kent, the Group expects to open up to three further sites in the current financial year.


Hospitality venues to replace ‘co-working’ spaces?

A new report from international law firm Withers has revealed that remote working is driving demand for semi-social venues such as bars, cafes and pubs as suitable places to work from and socialise in.

Insight from fifteen leading hospitality business and a number of experts predicts that independent and smaller operators within the industry will be able to adapt fastest to this growing demand. 

However, larger, and creative operators who can be agile may also benefit from this switch.

“The world over, the buildings we socialise in are wrestling with the challenge of catering for our new demands, and this presents extraordinary opportunities for those who can adapt to them,” Jeremy Wakeham, CEO of the Withers Business Division and a commercial real estate partner, explained.

“None of our respondents working in the food and drink sector believe socialising is going away because of Covid-19, and they see a whole new field of business opening up for hospitality venues which offer attractive work facilities.

“What is clear is that home workers are clearly frequenting local, independent food and beverage retailers in a way they have not done historically. The opportunity is there for those who can adjust their model." 

In a case study, the report highlighted that BrewDog has rolled out its Desk Dogs remote working service throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“For the first couple of months of lockdown, people were like, ‘this is awesome, I don't have to walk out the front door’, and I think now they're really starting to crave that variety,” BrewDog COO David McDowall explained. 

“Maybe for certain sectors, like tech or digital there were more people working away from a traditional office anyway, but we have people working in things like financial services who never worked that way in the past.

“We've been really surprised at the amount of people who may be working at home four days and now decide one day ‘I'm going to go and work from a bar or a restaurant.’

“The pressure is on hospitality operators now to deliver that option to work in their venues as a very basic part of their model, otherwise, certainly during the day, they're going to be very quiet.”

Desk Dog

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