Adventure Bar Group takes first steps outside London heartland
Experiential cocktail bar company, the Adventure Bar Group, has unveiled a pair of landmark venues in Birmingham – its first steps beyond its London heartland.
The group now operates 12 sites across London and Birmingham, including branded bars Tonight Josephine, Bar Elba, Blame Gloria and The Escapologist.
Led by founders Thomas Kidd and Tobias Jackson, the Group debuted the first of two new sites on Monday 12 April with the launch of an outdoor bar and dining concept Luna Springs in Digbeth before the opening of second site, Tonight Josephine, in Birmingham’s city centre in May.
Discussing the expansion, co-founder and CEO of Adventure Bar Group Kidd said: “We’re delighted to be opening these two new sites in Birmingham.
“It’s a brilliant, vibrant city and we have some really exciting plans for both of these venues, which are going to be all about fantastic drinks, great food, amazing, shared experiences, and some much-needed fun and good times.”
Luna Springs, is set to be the city’s largest outdoor bar and entertainment space, with a phased opening plan that will see the venue expand its capacity over the coming months. While it will launch with a capacity of 400 guests, the group expects to eventually accommodate up to 1,500 people.
Meanwhile, Tonight Josephine will see a 350-capacity venue open next to the city’s Grand Central station. It will be the group’s second standalone Tonight Josephine, alongside the first venue at London’s Waterloo.
Tobias Jackson, co-founder of The Adventure Bar Group, added: “We’ve been looking to expand our presence outside of London for some time and these two venues feel like the perfect next step for our business.
“Tonight Josephine is a unique concept and we’re really excited to be bringing it somewhere new and think it’s a concept we can share with lots more people in key cities across the UK.
“As a business, we’re always keen to push ourselves and develop new things, which is why we’re so excited about Luna Springs and the opportunity it presents to us.
“We’ve got some grand plans to make the most of the space, including an outdoor cinema and a stage to host live music and mini festivals.
“It’s been far too long since people were able to really let their hair down and we’re hoping that, as restrictions ease and the vaccine rollout continues, we’ll be able to play a key part in bringing the fun and enjoyment back into people’s lives.”
Larger pub groups better placed for Covid recovery
Large pub companies are better placed to bounce back from Covid-19 than smaller operators and independents – and could even gain market share – according to a report by global credit ratings agency S&P Global.
Titled UK Pubs, Shaken And Stirred, Look To Recover After A Cocktail Of Headwinds, S&P’s study on the economic impact of the UK’s vaccine rollout and the lockdown roadmap on the on-trade suggests that it will take up to three years for many operators to rebuild their financial standing to pre-pandemic levels.
What’s more, while “pent-up demand” is forecast to drive footfall after months of enforced closure, S&P expects prospects will remain tough for the medium term and operators will need to be nimble to stay abreast of fast-changing consumer behaviour.
Irish bar concept expands south of the Thames
The team behind north London Irish bar Homeboy Islington will venture south of the river to open a second venue in Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms.
Found close to Battersea, Homeboy Embassy Gardens has been a long-term project for Irish duo Aaron Wall and Ciaran Smith which had been put on hold due to the national lockdown.
Homeboy Embassy Gardens opened its terrace from Monday 12 April before the full site opening from Monday 17 May.
Homeboy’s original site, situated in Islington, launched in December 2018 and has since been named Best Bar in north London by Design My Night, been included in the Top Four Best New International Cocktail Bars in the World 2019, Top 10 Best International Cocktail Bars Europe 2020 and came in at 97 in Top 500 Bars in the World.
Mac and Wild duo to hit four site mark with Sixes expansion
According to reports by Big Hospitality, Mac and Wild founders Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon are planning to get the ball rolling on cricket-based competitive socialising concept Sixes, with sites earmarked for London’s Fitzrovia, Manchester and Oxford.
Sixes opened its inaugural site in Fulham last year offering a gastropub-themed menu alongside craft beer, cocktails and cricket nets bookable by the hour.
On Wednesday 26 May Waugh and Mackinnon will launch a Sixes on Fitzrovia’s Great Portland Street with an 80-cover restaurant, separate bar area and four cricket nets.
This will be followed later in the year by sites in Manchester and Oxford, although detail on these is not available yet.
Mac and Wild launched its first permanent London restaurant in 2015 and currently operates a restaurant in Fitzrovia alongside virtual hunting social entertainment concept Smoky Barrels in Fulham.
Duke’s Umbrella opens in central Glasgow
It has been announced that new gastropub the Duke’s Umbrella – found on site of former fashion and retail store Lawson’s on Glasgow’s Argyle Street – will open for business on 17 May.
The new pub will focus on serving high quality gastro pub food alongside an eclectic selection of real ales, fine wines and signature cocktails.
“I’ve always wanted to cook gastropub food,” development chef John Molloy said. “It’s honest, full of flavour, and for too long this style of food has been overlooked and has slipped into mediocrity.
“We will be giving our food the attention it deserves and treating the ingredients in the same way fine dining restaurants do. All while maintaining a relaxed atmosphere and delivering the sort of food you’ve always wanted from your local.”
“We’ve curated a menu from the finest produce, in which the ingredient is the hero of the dish, we’re keeping presentation simple, fuss free and full of flavour.”
General manager Craig McKay added: “We’ll be open from 10am every day, seven days a week, whether that’s for brunch, lunch, dinner, Sunday roast, bar snacks, a glass of champagne or a Scottish cask ale.
“We also have exclusive and private dining options available, and we’ll be using this space to host lots of tasting events such as food and wine pairings which will be a huge part of what we’re about.”
Incipio unveils Canary Wharf expansion
According to reports by The Morning Advertiser’s sister title Big Hospitality, London-based operator Incipio Group will open its first bricks and mortar venue in Canary Wharf this June.
A 700-capacity food and drink venue, Pergola on the Wharf will have three bars as well as 200-cover wraparound heated terrace with views over Canary Wharf.
What’s more, on top of an in-house food offer, it will have a separate kitchen hosting a rotating series of guest chefs and street food traders from across the UK.
The new venue will join the group’s exiting portfolio including Pergola Paddington, the Prince in Hammersmith and Lost in Brixton when it launches on Wednesday 2 June.
Flight Club Darts to launch in Ireland in 2022
The group behind Flight Club Darts and Electric Shuffle, Red Engine, has partnered with Loyola Group to bring Flight Club to Ireland – with the first venue planned to launch in Dublin in 2022.
With ambitious growth plans already in place including new openings in Leeds, Bristol, and Perth; Flight Club Dublin is the latest location to be announced.
“When we look at potential partnerships for bringing Social Darts to new audiences, we're committed to ensuring that we have the right fit with a team,” Flight Club co-founders Paul Barham and Steve Moore said. “We love creating incredible social experiences and redefining moments with friends, so this relationship is key to ensure that no element is missed.
“So, whether you join us in Manchester or Boston, London or Dublin, Birmingham or Perth, you'll know you're in a Flight Club and will have the best possible time.
“We can't wait to share more about what we've been working on together with Loyola Group and are so excited for to see that dartometer ticking in even more venues!”
Stephen Cooney, director and co-owner of Loyola Group added: “As a franchise partner of Flight Club in the UK we are incredibly proud to be bringing this brand to life in Ireland.
“We have seen the huge success of the concept in England and USA and are so excited to launch a truly unique social experience in early 2022.
“We look forward to sharing more on what you can expect from a visit to Flight Club Dublin in the coming months and will be announcing a launch date soon.”
Government call for evidence on rent welcomed
The Government’s call for evidence on commercial rent debts has been published with operators encouraged to complete the online survey.
A call for evidence on rent debts has been published, focusing on the moratorium on commercial lease evictions and the restrictions on the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR).
Although current measures are temporary and should not continue indefinitely, a “carefully managed exit” was necessary to protect businesses and jobs, the consultation said.
The consultation does not form part of the Government review into the commercial landlord and tenant relationship, announced in November 2020.
With hospitality rent debt topping £2bn, UKHospitality CEO Kate Nicholls said it was “very positive” that the Government was considering additional measures in the commercial lease market.
Three-floor revamp for Roxy Ball Room Merrion Street
Leeds-based Roxy Ball Room has unveiled a wholesale revamp spanning three floors ahead of reopening on Monday 17 May.
Former sister venue Roxy Arcade has been completely ripped out and refitted as Roxy Ball Room, creating one mammoth site with a spacious basement area boasting a diverse entertainment offer – including bank shot shuffleboard, crazy pool, karaoke, arcade machines and duckpin bowling.
"We are all extremely excited about taking our Merrion Street venue to another level,” Roxy Brand development manager Joel Mitchell said of the relaunch. “The people of Leeds are long overdue for a big night out on the town.
“Roxy Ball Room is coming back in a big way to help create memories that can make up for all those special occasions that we’ve all missed out on.
"The bar is ready to go from Monday 17 May, and I’m looking forward to seeing some familiar faces, from our loyal customers to co-workers and friends from our neighbouring bars,” he continued.
“I’m confident the people of Leeds are going to love our new-look, supersized venue when it finally reopens, and I know jaws will drop when they check out the new basement bar and see the massive selection of gaming that is now on offer.”
BrewDog earmarks Edinburgh DogHouse for Q3 2021
Independent brewer and bar operator, BrewDog, has lifted the lid on plans to open its latest DogHouse hotel in the Scottish capital before the end of the year – joining similar sites in Manchester and Columbus, Ohio.
Taking to Twitter to announce the news, BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Announcing the BrewDog DogHouse Edinburgh. An amazing beer hotel & bar in the heart of Scotland's capital.
“Expect beer on tap in all the rooms, mini-bars filled with the best beers in the planet & fridges in the shower for shower beers. Opens Q3 2021.”
The news comes after the group unveiled an artist’s impression of a new site in Atlanta on Twitter in which Watt revealed that BrewDog has 42 sites in its expansion pipeline.
“Others include Belfast, London, Paris, Vegas, Bath, Exeter, Mumbai, Sydney, Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Gurgaon, Lyon, Milan, Chester, Durham, Hyderabad & Cleveland,” Watt explained.
The announcement came after BrewDog chief executive officer David McDowall revealed that 28 sites were put into “hibernation” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The operator of more than 100 bars across 15 countries also recently revealed that it is hoping to transform a former industrial unit on the banks of the Thames into a new brewpub concept at London’s Wapping Power Station.
Announcing the @BrewDog DogHouse Edinburgh.— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) April 11, 2021
An amazing beer hotel & bar in the heart of Scotland's capital.
Expect beer on tap in all the rooms, mini-bars filled with the best beers in the planet & fridges in the shower for shower beers.
Opens Q3 2021. pic.twitter.com/uYXoh09khi
Loungers to grow its estate to 172 sites by the end of the May
The café bar operator behind a nationwide estate of Lounge and Cosy Club venues, Loungers, has announced plans to grow its estate to 172 sites by the end of next month (May) with the opening of four new venues.
The group will open new Lounge sites in the West Midlands with Wolverhampton and Stourbridge launches as well as expanding in Hertfordshire with a Welwyn Garden City site and a new venue in St Ives, Cornwall, by 26 May.
Loungers also announced that its lending banks have approved a 12-month extension to an incremental £15m revolving credit facility that was place in place in April 2020.
Consequently, the group says the most recent lockdown and new lending has allowed it to build a pipeline of new openings and that it was “cautiously optimistic” about the future.
“We expect to trade well once the estate is fully re-opened, particularly with our strong coastal presence as we look forward to a summer of staycationing. Planned new openings in Blackpool, Scarborough and Aberystwyth ahead of the summer holidays will reinforce this position,” Loungers chief executive Nick Collins said.
“The most recent lockdown has given us a real opportunity to build a fantastic pipeline of new sites in what is undoubtedly a tenant-friendly environment.
“We will approach the coming months cautiously but are very keen to get back to opening 25 sites a year at the earliest opportunity with such excellent properties being presented to us, and we are grateful to Santander and Bank of Ireland for their continued support.”
Loungers intends to reopen all its restaurants in England on Monday 17 May, before resuming trade at the remainder of its Welsh venues later that same month once confirmation of reopening dates have been confirmed.
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