Northamptonshire pub opens community café
Publican Jen Rees has opened a new community café at the Knightley Arms in Yelvertoft, Northamptonshire, to help create a social hub for local residents with the help and a Community Services Fund grant from Pub is The Hub.
The publican took over the then closed pub in October 2020, with the aim to re-establish it as the heart of the village.
The Knightley Arms had previously focused on a drinking clientele and Jen was keen to encourage more women, families and elderly customers to come into the premises to socialise.
“The pub is now the centre of the village and is open to everyone,” Rees said. “There has been a real buzz about the services we now offer and it has really helped to build morale in these challenging times.
“The community café has really helped to make the Knightley Arms the place for everyone to come and connect. It is so nice to see a range of different people including families and the elderly from the village using the pub.”
Pub is The Hub regional adviser Dave Allan added: “Jen has really transformed the Knightley Arms into the hub of this village in only a short time.
“The community café will offer those living locally the chance to meet and socialise following a time when many of them have been isolated due to lockdowns.”
Heartstone Inns eyes 30-strong estate
According to reports by The Morning Advertiser’s sister title MCA Insight, Heartstone Inns is looking to acquire managed houses – individually or in packages – with a view to expanding its portfolio to around 30 sites.
While initially targeting its existing south and southwestern heartland – with a focus on freehold and mainly food-led pubs – the business harbours ambition to grow into the Home Counties in market towns and villages outside London.
The operator sold seven of its pubs to Punch in January last year, and a further site to a private buyer in March 2020, receiving £4.56m for the assets and leaving it with eight sites at present.
Filipino restaurant, bar, bakery and patisserie Kasa and Kin to open in September
The team behind Kensington’s multi-award-winning Romulo Café & Restaurant are poised to open new Filipino-flavoured concept Kasa and Kin in London’s Soho this September.
The new 90 cover venue – 70 inside and 20 al fresco – combines an all-day restaurant and bar, a bakery and patisserie under one roof.
With a team overseen by Michelin-starred chef and consultant Pat McDonald – previously of the Savoy and Liberty of London – and Romulo’s executive chef, Jeremy Villanueva, Kasa and Kin aims to give a contemporary twist to long-held family recipes.
Prospect Pubs & Bars to open fifth site
The operator of four pubs across the Home Counties, Prospect Pubs & Bars, is poised to open a fifth venue later in 2021 off the back of a fiscal boost from Cynergy Bank.
Cynergy Bank provided Prospect Pubs with a £1.6m Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme payment in November 2020 followed by another loan of £187,500 in June which will help open a further three pubs and create approximately fifty new jobs.
Prospect Pubs was launched in 2019 by former Redcomb owners Dan Shotton and Mark Draper following the acquisition of their first site, the Evenlode in Eynsham, Oxfordshire.
“Steve, Harry and the team at Cynergy Bank have a real understanding of our sector and have been hugely supportive of Mark and I and our new venture, Prospect Pubs, since we sold our last business, Redcomb Pubs in 2019,” Shotton said.
“We look forward to working with them as we quickly develop and grow the business, it is a pleasure working with them.”
Steve Crosswell, relationship director at Cynergy added: “Cynergy Bank are delighted to have been able to support Dan and Mark with a re-finance plus additional funding to help them quickly grow to five sites.
“They are a proven management team having successfully exited Redcomb Pubs in 2019 and I’ve known the team for some time so it was great to formalise the relationship with them and be part of their new journey in growing Prospect Pubs.”
Former Saracens duo open third bar
Former Saracens captain Alistair Hargreaves and former teammate Chris Wyles have launched a third Wolfpack bar in London serving their very own Wolfpack Lager and Wolfpack Pilsner.
The venue on Fulham Broadway – a 300-year-old former pub boasting on site accommodation – is a departure from the pair’s first site in Queen’s Park, a tap room in an old mechanic’s garage that opened in 2017, and their second site, a late-night craft beer bar in West Hampstead.
As well as their three London-based bars, Wolfpack Lager, which the pair launched in 2015, and Wolfpack Pilsner, launched in 2019, is pouring in hundreds of pubs across the UK.
“As lockdown hit, we panicked for a few weeks then set about scrutinising our cost base and setting out a survival plan,” Wyles said. “We eventually realised that there were certain things beyond our control, but if we could embrace the challenges ahead with personality, a sense of humour and boundless positivity, we could not only weather the storm but come out of lockdown with a stronger, better business.
“When we saw people come out in their droves to support us last summer we threw caution to the wind and invested in another Wolfpack bar,” he added. “The Wolfpack Inn in Fulham is a 300-year-old pub with six hotel rooms. We opened Wolfpack West Hampstead in March last year so we've essentially opened two new venues during lockdown.”
1950’s Havana-themed bar to open in central London
Bar and restaurant operator MJMK has announced the launch of Bar La Rampa, a concept designed to celebrate the heritage and culture of 1950’s Havana, in the heart of central London.
Named after Calle 23, one of the best-known streets of Havana’s vibrant Vedado region, La Rampa will be a celebration of Cuba’s long-standing traditions of food, rum and live music.
Opening this summer, Bar La Rampa will offer Londoners a destination to enjoy reimagined Cuban cuisine and a cocktail-led drinks offering curated by respected mixologist and bartender, Marcis Dzelzainis.
Located on Market Place, two minutes from Oxford Circus, the venue will accommodate both indoor and outdoor dining, with a large al fresco terrace.
MJMK co-founder, Jake Kasumov said: “I lived in Cuba until I was six years old, and my father spent the majority of his life in Havana, meaning I travelled there often throughout my life. I’ve always been enamoured with Cuba’s cultural heritage but find it has often been misrepresented through cultural appropriation abroad.
“[Co-founder] Marco and I are passionate about bringing Havana’s beautiful history to life in a way that celebrates the country’s authentic food, drinks and design.”
West London pub to reopen after £450,000 joint investment
Restaurant, bar and hospitality operator, Christian Arden has taken on his first pub with Star Pubs & Bars, the Tree House in Barnes, which will reopen as the Crossing in August following a joint £450,000 refurbishment.
“I have wanted to open a pub in Barnes for some time and so was delighted when the Tree House became available,” Arden said. “The pandemic delayed plans, but on the flipside it gave me the opportunity to finesse them and collaborate with Chef Anthony Demetre. I even had time to go on Star Pubs & Bars’ Innside Knowledge course for new licensees which was a fabulous experience.”
“My ambition is for the Crossing to offer the best food and drink in south west London,” he added.
“My wife is a founder of the award-winning A Plastic Planet, so as you can I imagine I am also passionate about creating sustainable pubs. Pubs generally are sustainable businesses using glasses, bottles and cans and like us employ local people and use local suppliers. Reducing waste and energy consumption will be a focus of operations.”
Richard Campbell, regional operations director of Star Pubs & Bars added: “It’s great to have Christian on board.
“He has a fantastic reputation in the hospitality industry, having run his own Michelin-starred restaurant, built a highly successful group of late-night venues and turned around many other businesses.
“He is now returning to his passion – top-end pubs with a reputation for superb service. Barnes has been crying out for a pub restaurant of this calibre and with Christian at the helm it will undoubtedly be a great success.”
Crazy golf concept teed up for Camden expansion
Crazy golf concept Plonk has announced the opening of a brand-new space in Camden Market beneath the area’s historic arches.
The new nine-hole course joins four other Plonk sites including the newly refurbished Plonk Peckham and a location at east London’s London Fields.
Staffordshire pub to reopen following £120,000 investment
The Canal Tavern in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, is reopening following a transformational £120,000 investment with Admiral Taverns.
The investment funded improvements including interior and exterior revamps, new signage, and new seating around the pub.
Licensees Beverley and Ed Franklin have run the pub since 2009.
“It’s been amazing to see the reception from the local community on the new look,” Beverley said. “They are always very supportive, and it has been a joy to welcome everyone back to the pub after a difficult year.
“For us, as the community will know, it has been hard work with all the setbacks with constant flooding leading to the closure of the pub, so we are even more delighted to be reopening.
“We have always seen an opportunity at the Canal Tavern and are extremely grateful for the support from Admiral Taverns throughout the lockdowns, and in helping us take our next step forward transforming this beautiful pub,” she added.
Alun Hurt, business development manager for Admiral Taverns, added: “The refurbishment looks fantastic, I would certainly recommend a visit.
“Beverley and Ed have been an enormous part of the community over the past 12 years, and it’s great to see the pub back open. After every setback, they always come back stronger, which is credit to their amazing passion for the pub.”
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