Property round-up

Pub featured on Real Ghost Hunters up for sale, updates from Star, JDW, Hickory’s and Robinsons

By The Morning Advertiser

- Last updated on GMT

Property moves: which sites have been revamped or changed hands in the past week?
Property moves: which sites have been revamped or changed hands in the past week?

Related tags: Property, Finance, Star pubs & bars, Robinsons brewery, Jd wetherspoon, Pubco + head office, Tenanted + leased

The latest pub property round-up includes a pub featured on Amazon Prime’s Real Ghost Hunters being put up for sale, new owners of a venue housed in a Grade II-listed church, and updates from Star, JD Wetherspoon, Hickory’s and Robinsons.

Public Urban Bars expands Cookhouse brand with Star

Public Urban Bars is commencing a £800,000 refurbishment of the Victoria in Rainhill, Merseyside with Star Pubs & Bars, which will convert the pub into its fourth Cookhouse Pub & Carvery site. 

The revamped venue – Public Urban Bar’s fourth pub with Star - will open in early October, creating 40 new jobs. 

Public Urban Bars has further Cookhouses at Prestatyn in Denbighshire, Wales, Liverpool and Widnes. The company is now planning expansion of the brand across the north west and north.  

“The Cookhouse model has proved resilient during the pandemic,” co-founder Colin Stuart said. “Trade picked up over night when we came out of lockdown. 

“We aim to have something for everyone and give local residents great food, drinks and entertainment on their doorsteps, so they don’t need to travel. With people choosing to stay local, our pubs are busy.  

“The pace and extent of our expansion will be determined by the availability of sites that are right for the brand but we can easily see growing to a group of ten Cookhouses,” he added.


Southampton church restaurant bar has new owner

The Vestry, a restaurant bar housed in a Grade II-listed former church, been purchased by the Bedford Place Pub Group.

Site’s new co-owner, Piers Kannangara of the Bedford Place Pub Group, said the group was “thrilled to acquire the freehold of this iconic site in such a prime location”, which is only a few minutes’ walk from Southampton Central mainline station and at the heart of the densely populated part of the city centre close to the Cultural Quarter. 

Bedford Place Pub Group, which already has a well-established portfolio of ten venues predominately based in Southampton, outlined big plans for their most recent addition. “We want to build on its close proximity to the Mayflower Theatre, whilst also catering as a go to destination within the city centre for locals wanting both quality food and drinks,” they explained.  

“The building also lends itself perfectly for the use of a variety of events including weddings, which it already has a license for.”

The group’s existing businesses consists of late night bars and live music venues as well as the fast growing XOXO brand.

The Vestry will be renamed and is expected to open its doors this September following a significant refurbishment.


Pub featured on Amazon Prime’s Real Ghost Hunters ​up for sale

Somerset pub the Smugglers Inn at Blue Anchor near Minehead – which is said to be haunted by ghost of child – has been put up for sale, according to reports by Somerset Live​. 

The news comes after Amazon Prime’s Real Ghost Hunters​ featured the venue in 2020 following reports from customers that a small child could often be seen sitting at a table in the corner of the pub.

The Smugglers Inn is a three storey, detached building, found near a sandy beach at Blue Anchor and is being marketed by Bettesworths off a price tag of £695,000.

The listing adds the pub sits in a generous plot with an extensive and pretty trade garden and car parking behind, according to Somerset Live​.

“Trade at the Smugglers Inn is particularly strong and growing season on season under the current owner’s tenure,” according to Bettesworths.  

"There is still plenty of scope to grow the business and an early viewing of this rather unique business is highly recommended." 

Vaulkhard group to launch Cuban-themed bar and restaurant in Newcastle

The Vaulkhard Group has confirmed plans to open a Cuba-inspired bar and restaurant in Newcastle city centre.

Castro’s will host the best Latin-themed food, drink, and cocktails at its location on Hood Street, formerly the Beeronomy site, which the group purchased from Newcastle Building Society.

The group, which also owns Newcastle city centre venues including Blakes, Bealim House, and Mushroom, is recruiting for 30 new full and part-time roles at Castro’s.

Ollie Vaulkhard, director of the Vaulkhard Group, said: “We know Castro’s will be a very welcome addition to the heart of Newcastle city centre.

“As a business, we’ve been lucky enough to come out of lockdown with a positive outlook, and now we want to give back to our customers who have helped us throughout the last 16 months with something new and exciting for their Newcastle night out.

“It’s vital the hospitality sector continues to innovate and give customers a great reason to socialise. At Castro’s, they’ll be able to fully immerse themselves in a Havana experience like no other – whether that be with friends, family, or work colleagues." 

The Vaulkhard Group recently announced a string of acquisitions, taking on ownership of popular drinking venues in Newcastle such as Bridge Tavern and Town Wall, while at the same time dispensing of late-night venues Perdu and MSA. 


JDW to sell 7 pubs

As reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​, pub giant JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has appointed two agents to dispose of seven of its sites in England and Wales for an undisclosed sum. 

The venues are either freehold or long leasehold and found in town centre locations. They are being considered for sale either individually, in small packages or as a full portfolio.

A spokesperson on behalf of the Savills and CBRE, which have been appointed to sell the sites, said: “Following the success of our earlier marketing campaigns for JDW, we are delighted to be launching these seven outlets to the market.

“These sizeable venues are all fitted to a high standard, which will make them appealing to a broad range of potential buyers.”

Read more here​ 

Robinsons reopens Cheshire pub after ‘substantial investment’

The King William in Wilmslow, Cheshire – purchased by Robinsons in June 1949 – has reopened following a substantial joint investment from Stockport-based brewer and pub operator Robinsons and licensee Carl Entwistle, also licensee of the popular Drum & Monkey pub in Alderley Edge.

The revamp took eight weeks to complete and has refreshed the pub both internally and externally – with a redesigned rear courtyard now offering more than 50 covers.

Wayne Roach, business development manager at Robinsons, commented: “It was important to create a more open feel whilst retaining the charm and true character of a pub. The premises sits in a prime location on the outskirts of Wilmslow town centre.

“The vision was to totally change the feel of the pub as it historically operated as a sports bar with a limited food offer. The renovation and enhanced decor have created a real upmarket old London tavern style pub, which is now more family- friendly with an excellent all day food offer.”


Bar Crispin launches with new head chef and GM 

According to reports by The MA’s​ sister title BigHospitality​, Bar Crispin, the new natural wine concept from the team behind all-day restaurant Crispin in London's Spitalfields, has launched in Soho with a new head chef and in-house sommelier.

Following the recent departure of head chef Naz Hassan, Brendan Lee will head up the food operation at Bar Crispin, having recently returned to London after several years working in kitchens across the US including the Michelin-starred Al’s Place in San Francisco, and Emmer & Rye in Austin, Texas.

Meanwhile, Alex Price, previously-Annabel’s and Beaverbrook, has joined the team as GM and in-house sommelier. 

Bar Crispin opened on 15 July, having first been announced back in April. 

Salt Dog Slims to open Manchester site

GSG Hospitality will soon expand its Salt Dog Slims concept on Manchester’s Bow Lane.

The award-winning independent hospitality group confirmed its expansion across the northwest earlier this year having operated in both Birmingham and London and opening and establishing eight different brands in Liverpool – including its own Salt Dog Slims.

The group’s renowned dive bar’s newest site will cater for 120 people on its ground floor while a basement speakeasy will cater for a further 80 people.  

Matt Farrell, director of Salt Dog Slims, said: “We set our sights on opening a venue in Manchester a while ago and we’re very excited to be opening the doors to Salt Dog Slim’s very soon. 

“Despite the challenges that Covid has created, we’ve pushed on with the build of the venue and behind the scenes we’ve been working on our interesting cocktails and new food menu for when we open.”

Salt Dog

Hickory’s to open Wilmslow site

Almost two years after the Hickory’s team took on a site on Racecourse Road in Wilmslow, Cheshire, the Chester-based barbecue concept operator is finally ready to fire up the smokers. 

There are now 12 Hickory’s restaurants across the country, with its 13th site in Nottingham due to open later this year. 

The group’s Wilmslow site was originally due to open in April 2020 but was delayed due to the pandemic. 

“At times it’s felt like this day would never come but we are finally there,” Hickory’s managing director John Welsh said. “One benefit of the delayed opening has been the extra time it has given us to finesse the design of the restaurant, add a few quirky extra touches and make sure our team are all very excited and ready to go.  

“We’ve had an overwhelming amount of support from the local community in Wilmslow so, as you can imagine, we can’t wait to welcome them all and show them what we have done with the place.”

  • To find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy visit our property site​​​​​​​​

Related topics: Property law

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