Property round-up

Popular bar Folk acquired by first-time buyers, Brunning & Price to reach 80 sites

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Let's get fiscal: plenty of money has been invested in the latest property moves
Let's get fiscal: plenty of money has been invested in the latest property moves

Related tags Finance Property Freehouse Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office Tenanted + leased

A busy time for pub purchasing and renovations has seen new kids on the block Sogbog buys its first site; Brunning & Price builds its portfolio; investments from pubcos including Star, Greene King and Admiral; and a former Great British Pub Awards overall winning site is sold to Young's.

First-time buyers acquire Manchester bar

A group of four directors have made their first leasehold purchase with the acquisition of bar and venue hire business Folk, in West Didsbury, south Manchester.

The group – Sogbog – has taken on the site on Burton Road, supported by Christie Finance. The venue has a large L-shaped open lounge and a handmade wooden bar, along with a mix of free-standing tables and a large seating terrace with heating and a retractable awning.

There are plans to reinvigorate menus, creating both a family-friendly offer in the day and a sophisticated option for the evening. Sogbog said: “We were told from a local business owner about Folk being up for sale we felt it made perfect sense to purchase the business altogether which has been a pipe dream for us all. We’re really excited to launch our new menus, with our winter menu coming first for Christmas, and we also have plans to extend the Folk family to another neighbourhood, so watch this space.”

Lawrence Roberts, finance consultant at Christie Finance, added: “The hospitality sector continues to be a difficult sector to fund, however with the expertise and business acumen that the buyers presented, this deal was a case of finding the right solution that worked for them.”


Brunning & Price to take estate to 80

Pub operator Brunning & Price is to expand its portfolio of pubs to 80 with Rake Hall in Little Stanley, Cheshire, slated to open on 8 December and the purchase last week of Tidbury Green Farm near Solihull, West Midlands.

Despite building frustration for two years on Rake Hall (pictured below), the site has created 60 new jobs in the area, some of which have been filled through its tie-up with Cheshire College South and West. The grade II-listed building that was built in the 17th century was taken on by Brunning & Price in 2019. Restoration work has seen the uncovering of original features and work completed on the oriel window set in a canted bay in what is now the private dining room.

Tidbury Green Farm, which is also a 17th century grade II-listed building, consists of a number of outhouses, barns and stables surrounded by lawns with a large duck pond to the front of the property and because this will be the first thing customers see, the operator will call it the Mallard.

Work now begins to plan the final design for the pub which the pubco hopes to present for planning in the new year, so restoration work can begin in 2022.


Two Derby pubs to reopen after £700k investment

Two pubs in Derby pubs are set for a £700,000 investment to reopen and refurbish them in 2022 following lengthy closures.

Subject to recruiting new licensees, Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars wants to overhaul the Corner Pin in Chellaston – which has been closed since 2018 – and the Dog & Moon on Sadler Gate in the city centre, which shut its doors in March last year.

Star said the plans would transform the Corner Pin into a “great quality local catering for the whole community and all occasions”, while being renamed as the Chellaston Arms. Meanwhile, the 300-year old Dog & Moon would become a “modern craft bar” and revert to its previous name of the Shakespeare.

Outside space would be revamped at both pubs with festoon lighting, heating, new furniture and extra capacity for customers. The Corner Pin’s garden would be landscaped with seating for 105 people and a covered, heated pergola. Meanwhile, a sheltered outdoor area decorated with art and accommodating 60 customers would be developed at the Dog & Moon, doubling the pub’s size.

Inside, both pubs would have new kitchens to begin a food offer at each site while state-of-the-art dispense equipment in the cellars would be installed and licensee accommodation would be improved.

Star Pubs & Bars area manager for Derby, Amanda Bloor (pictured below), said: “We’re keen to revitalise these two wonderful old Derby pubs for people to enjoy – we just need the right licensees to take them on. The pandemic has frustrated our plans. Now restrictions have lifted, we’re keen to recruit new operators and get these pubs open again as soon as possible. These are well-known pubs with fantastic potential that residents want to see back in business. With investment they will thrive. They are great opportunities for experienced licensees wanting a landmark pub in a high-profile location in Derby.”


Largest ever investment by Admiral of £370k to transform community pub

Admiral Taverns has ploughed £370,000 – its largest ever capital investment – into transforming the Raven pub in Chester.

The Raven, which was named the Farndon, in Farndon, has reopened after an extensive renovation, featuring state-of-the-art facilities.

The Admiral site will be run by experienced licensees Ed Duley and Tom Burge. The duo met in 2007 while working at a small country house hotel. Duley said: “Taking the Raven on was the easiest decision Tom and I have ever made. Being able to take charge of our destiny and do something that we’re both passionate about is amazing. We want to create a place that maintains the pub’s traditional roots and that consistently pleases both the local and the wider community.”

The Raven’s renovation has seen a complete remodel of the interior and exterior of the pub, which comprises two outdoor areas and features four en-suite bedrooms. Accommodation is family and dog-friendly and will be available to book on a bed and breakfast basis.

Burge added: “Our experience has shown us there are so many venues where drinking and dining don’t exist cohesively, but we know that with the right management and correct approach they can.”

Inside, the pub is set out across two floors. The ground floor will be for drinking and casual eating, whilst the first floor is for dining.


Mosaic Pub & Dining acquires former Greene King site

31-strong pub operator Mosaic Pub & Dining has acquired the freehold of the Larkshall pub in Chingford, Essex, which was previously let to brewer and retailer Greene King.

Following an extensive refurbishment, including the creation of an enlarged garden and external kitchen, the team is now gearing up to open its doors to the public.

James Watson, joint chief executive of Mosaic Pub & Dining, said: “Our programme of works was badly hit due to the well-documented perfect storm of logistical problems in the summer, and this one has taken a lot longer than expected to get open.”

The site, which opens on 30 November, has had a major facelift, including new fittings and furniture, a new kitchen and a complete overhaul of the outside space.

Watson added: “It was really important to us that we got the renovations spot on, as the interiors play a big part of the atmosphere in such a historic building.” The company also transformed the garden to provide space for 400 people, complete with an outdoor kitchen.

Simon Bland, of leisure property specialist Fleurets, said: “It’s fantastic Mosaic are finally on the cusp of opening the doors of this great pub. When we sold the freehold to Mosaic, it had a clear vision for the site and it’s great to see it coming to life.”


Greene King and local operator reopen pub after £400k renovation

O’Connor’s pub has reopened in Worthing following a £400,000 joint investment by pub owner Greene King Pub Partners and new operator Matt Short of Regency Corporation. 

The new-look pub, which was formerly the Warwick Arms, has been transformed following an internal and external refurbishment to create a “typical Irish pub”.

Speaking about the change, business development manager for Greene King Pub Partners, Andre Quibell said: “This scheme was a brave one and we wanted to do it with an experienced pub operator, which we have in Matt and his team. With them, we’ve been able to create a unique and high-quality high street pub that will be great for Worthing town.”

Short added: “As a child, I spent many holidays in Ireland visiting family and friends and always wanted to bring a slice of the emerald isle to Worthing, and the Warwick gave us the space and versatility to create O’Connor’s.

“It will be a pub that appeals to everyone whether you are out shopping or meeting up with friends to enjoy the regular live music or sporting action.”

Renovations include new furniture inside and out, a complete redecoration and traditional fixtures and fittings alongside and a new bar with state-of-the-art beer dispense equipment. Well-known local Angie Deeprose will operate the pub on a day-to-day basis.


Great British Pub Awards winning pub sold to Young’s

The winner of the Great British Pub 2016 – the Bull in Ditchling, East Sussex – has been acquired by pub company Young’s.

The Bull was owned by the Worrall family for more than 18 years, during which time they transformed a once bankrupt tenancy into a “beautiful and much-loved freehold operation”.

“The Bull wasn’t on the market but following a discreet approach from Nick Earee [divisional director of Fleurets], and his complete understanding of both what we had been able to achieve here and our standards, he was able to introduce Young’s as a potentially suitable match”, said Dominic Worrall, former owner of the pub.

“Once we had an opportunity to look at their business model, ethics and the relationship that exists between Young’s, their teams, suppliers and customers, we were prepared to sit down with them. I think that this acquisition offers The Bull the opportunity to further establish itself as one of the finest pubs in UK and for the team here to further their experience and progress with a fantastic company.”


Bradford is home to BrewDog’s latest bar

Scottish craft brewer BrewDog has opened its latest bar with a chance for one of its first 100 customers to win a year of free bear.

BrewDog Bradford has also teamed up with barbecue outfit Red’s True Barbecue for its third instalment. The low-and-slow food provider will take residency at the site at 11 Great Horton Road.

The bar will serve its own and guest beers from 28 taps and offer a takeaway service available for those needing beers to go. The bar will also serve Hawkes cider, spirits and wine, and coffee from Shoreditch supplier Grind.

There will also be ‘Beer School’ sessions, which are guided tastings led by Cicerone-trained staff.


Trio of stars to open second pub

Publican Dominic Jacobs, chef James Knappett and JKS Restaurants will launch a second central London pub​ later this week, according to Big Hospitality​.

On Great Portland Street, the George follows the trio’s successful relaunch of the Cadogan Arms in Chelsea earlier this year. The historic Fitzrovia pub has undergone an extensive restoration and will reopen in two phases.

From Thursday 25 November, the ground floor will offer cask ales, craft beers, seasonal cocktails, tapped wines and Irish whiskeys plus a pub menu while upstairs will offering a dining experience “led by culinary director James Knappett”. which is set open in February 2022. 

  • If you have any information regarding new openings or property details you think could be used in this weekly round-up section, along with hi-res landscape images, please email tnel.yyblq@jeoz.pbz​​​​​​​​​ before midday on Tuesdays.

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