Property round-up

Diageo to open £73m Guinness site in London, Bar + Block to reach 20 sites

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Future plans, sales and renovations: there's plenty of property news this week
Future plans, sales and renovations: there's plenty of property news this week

Related tags: Property, Branding + marketing, Beer, Food, Accommodation, Multi-site pub operators, Pubco + head office

Property news this week includes Diageo's plans for a £73m Guinness microbrewery in London, Whitbread's Bar + Block brand to reach 20 sites and multiple operators take third site with Star Pubs & Bars.

Diageo to invest £73m into Guinness microbrewery

Drinks business Diageo has announced plans to invest £73m in a Guinness microbrewery and culture hub​ in London.

The company, whose brands include Guinness, Smirnoff, Gordon’s and Captain Morgan, will open the site at Old Brewer’s Yard, Covent Garden, in autumn, subject to legals, and will create 150 jobs.

The investment to create ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’, builds on the success of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin and the opening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street in Edinburgh in 2021.

Diageo Great Britain managing director Dayalan Nayager said: “We’re excited to create a new home for Guinness in the heart of London. ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ will strengthen London’s hospitality community and be a must-visit destination for thousands of visitors to enjoy.”

Read the full story here​.

Bar + Block brand to reach 20 sites

Pub-restaurants and hotel operator Whitbread is set to take its Bar + Block brand to 20 sites with a double opening in London​.

Bar + Block Hammersmith is set to open in mid-February on Shepherd’s Bush Road. It will have 136 restaurant covers and a 44-cover bar spread across 555sq metres.

This will be followed by Bar + Block Paddington, which will open on North Wharf Road in early March. The lower ground restaurant will have 140 restaurant covers, including a 16-seater group dining table and 77-cover bar.

Menus at both restaurants will follow the steakhouse’s all-day trading format, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, seven days a week, with a spotlight on 30-day aged steaks.

Rebecca Donaldson, commercial marketing director at Whitbread said: “We are delighted to be starting 2022 with two new Bar + Block openings in London as we continue to grow and develop the brand nationwide.

Full the full story, click here​.


Multiple operators take on third Star Pubs & Bars pub during pandemic

North-west multiple operators Chris and Jon Nevin have taken on their third Star Pubs & Bars lease in two years, the Farmer’s Arms in Burscough, and together with Star are undertaking a joint £500,000 plus upgrade of the pub.

The brothers have been very successful with their two Star sites, the first one opening at the start of the pandemic, increasing trade by £1m at the Golden Lion in Rainford, Merseyside, and by a similar amount at the Bay Horse in Worsthorne, Lancashire.

The Farmer’s Arms is also a village pub but with the benefit of a canal side location in west Lancashire that appeals to walkers and cyclists. Its new built garden room seats 60 on top of the existing 80 internal covers.

Renovation work is set to start at the end of February with a reopening date slated for early April, which will create 30 new jobs.

Chris said: “We love the canal side location of the Farmer’s Arms and that there are great views across Lancashire all the way to the Pennines. It’s in a lovely spot if you want to walk or cycle nearby or somewhere to just relax and enjoy great food and drink in beautiful surroundings.

“We could immediately see the pub’s potential and that it would work well with our vision for our pubs, food, drink and service model. We will continue to add further businesses to our portfolio. These will not only be in destination and village sites. We will also be moving into further hospitality segments that we have experience of operating within where we know we can add value and differentiation over current managed pub company offers.”

Star Pubs & Bars business development manager David O’Brien said: “Chris and Jon have done an amazing job over the last two years creating fantastic popular village pubs. They have worked hard to deliver the type of food, drink and ambience that people want while retaining the unique characters of each pub. I feel sure the Farmer’s Arms will be another success for them and wish the team well.”

Welsh bistro placed on the market

Specialist hospitality property adviser, Christie & Co has brought to Moorings Bistro to market – a popular restaurant overlooking the beautiful bay of Borth-Y-Gest, just outside Porthmadog, Wales.

Originally a terraced house built in 1860, this site has long been one of Borth-Y-Gest’s most popular places to enjoy local cuisine and has views of the bay and surrounding mountains.

The modern, two-storey building is situated directly on the Welsh coastal path between Porthmadog and Criccieth and features an attractive outdoor terrace and main restaurant with floor to ceiling bi-folding doors, which open fully to showcase the stunning views. Above this, there is an owner’s apartment.

The business has gained popularity under the ownership of Melanie Gautier and Ross Kempster who purchased the bistro in 2014 and brought chef Mohand Yahia on board to open a restaurant together.

Gautier and Kempster said: “Having both worked in catering for more than 10 years, we quickly realised during our lunch that Moorings Bistro was just perfect in every way, it’s location, it’s outdoor patio and for us, it’s size. It is big enough to make a healthy profit and yet small enough so you can get to know your customers and build a rapport with them.

“But we have come to a time in our lives where we would love to have a family of our own and so business doesn’t fit in with our new dream

“Once we sell, we would love to find a little B&B that would be more suited for family life. We really hope that someone else will love the Moorings as much as we have and get as much out of it as we did. This is the perfect place for anyone looking for a change of lifestyle or even as an investment as the area is growing in popularity with tourists each year.”

Tom O’Malley, associate director in Christie & Co’s Hospitality team, who is handling the sale, added: “This thriving, unopposed local restaurant with stunning views could be the perfect business for an aspiring chef. This is a fantastic opportunity not to be missed.”


Brunning & Price takes site in Bath

Pub operator Brunning & Price is set to open its new site called the Architect on the ground floor of the former Empire Hotel in Bath.

The space in the grade II-listed building on Orange Grove has most recently been home to a Garfunkel’s restaurant. Brunning & Price plans to spend the next few months refurbishing and the site in time for summer opening.

The Architect promises to offer a warm welcome, good cask beers, freshly cooked food, decent and affordable wine and a good shelf of malt whiskies and gins.

Brunning & Price managing director Mary Willcock said: ‘’You’ll find us traditional in style, with wooden floors, bookcases, decent old furniture and lots of rugs and plants. This project will be a joy to work on as the building itself is crammed with history and character.

“Being foodies, our menu, which will be published on our website each morning, will be something of an eclectic mix, striking a balance of hearty pub classics, complemented by more exotic influences from around the world. It changes regularly and reflects the seasons but there’s always a mix of traditional British dishes alongside something a little different.”

The pub will create about 50 jobs including bar, waiting, kitchen and maintenance roles.

Brunning & Price currently operates 79 pub-restaurants that launched in the north-west of England and north Wales but now has sites in the south.


Boys Hall pub-restaurant and hotel to open in summer

17th century manor house Boys Hall in Ashford, Kent, is set to open in June after restoration.

The site is set within three acres of gardens and will be transformed into “the ultimate boutique country bolthole”.  It will comprise 10 en-suite bedrooms, multiple reception rooms and private dining spaces, a 70-cover oak-beamed restaurant with two outside terraces and a wood-clad pub.

Boys Hall Jacobean Manor was originally built in 1616. Now grade II-listed, it has been lovingly renovated under the watchful eye of husband-and-wife team, Bradley and Kristie Lomas. Bradley was the former operations director of East London Pub Co, and Kristie is the founder of Drink, Shop & Do as well as Keystone Crescent members club in London’s King’s Cross.

The restaurant will be housed in a newly constructed dining hall with local oak while the pub will “form the perfect place for a pint of local ale” and will be open to the public and residents. A premium wine cellar will sit beneath with capacity for around 4,000 bottles and will feature speciality vintages from English wineries as well as producers from around the world.

Kristie and Bradley said: “We have loved every minute of restoring this timeless and beautiful period property and cannot wait to see life back into the venue. We want people to relax and enjoy themselves whether they choose a cup of tea in one of the reception rooms or a gin and tonic out on the lawns.

Double rooms will be available from £160 per night, bed and breakfast.


St Austell invests £2m into Devon pub

South-west-based brewer and pub operator St Austell Brewery is investing £2m into the renovation of the 14th century Masons Arms pub​.

The investment at the Branscombe, Devon, pub will also create 15 new jobs with St Austell looking to hire front-of-house and back of house team members, chefs, and housekeepers.

The Masons Arms comprises 28 rooms and a converted cottage and St Austell said it “oozes character with timber frames, low beamed ceilings, pine cladding, whitewashed walls – all of which will be lovingly restored - and a huge roaring log fire”. The rooms – which are dog-friendly – also provide views overlooking the surrounding countryside, combining charm and comfort.

St Austell Brewery people and communications director Tamsyn Allington said: “We are delighted to be investing in the future of the Masons Arms, an iconic country inn which has always been popular with our locals and – thanks to its beautiful location – attracts visitors from far and wide.”

To read the full story, click here​.


Gareth Bale backs new bar and mini golf concept

New bar, restaurant and mini golf concept Par 59, which is backed by Wales and Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale, is set to open on 18 March​.

Located on St Mary Street Par 59 is the result of a tie-up between Bale’s Elevens Group and Welsh independent entertainment brand The Depot.

Phase one of the venue will include a 4,000sq ft of bar space, and two 9-hole mini golf courses that have been custom designed for the venue. Each round of mini golf will take players around 45 minutes to complete.

A food offer from Dirty Bird promises to keep customers well fed with phase two of the project opening later this year.

Nick Saunders, founder and managing director of The Depot and co-founder of Par 59 said: “We have been able to transform a city centre site that had previously lain empty since 2016. We’re really proud of the fact that by working with local suppliers (including Wild Creations, Studio Severn Architects, and Paramount Interiors) we have been able to put revenue back into the local economy during a global pandemic. Once open, Par 59 will also provide new employment opportunities for 45 staff.”

To read the full story, click here​.

Community group to reopen Cheshire village pub with emphasis on local beers

The White Lion in Hankelow has vowed to focus on the beers from its local microbreweries when it reopens in March after a multimillion-pound investment from its community owners.

The Cheshire village pub, which last traded in 2016, was purchased by members of the Hankelow community to prevent the site from being developed into housing. Since then, The White Lion has become a passion project for almost 40 village residents, as they worked to raise funds to complete the investment.

The whole project has been a community effort, with focus groups taking on different aspects of the refurbishment, such as design, build, operations, and the pub’s exceptional green credentials.

The spend has brought a new lease of life to the community landmark. The building has been extended, with local builder James Shenton’s master joinery a focal point in the rear extension that will serve as the front door. Manchester-based designer Jason Prince has been key in the site’s renovation.

The White Lion has put sustainability at the centre of its operating ethos. The pub benefits from rooftop solar panels, a cutting-edge infrared ceiling and wall-mounted heating system, an integrated building management efficiency scheme, and a rainwater harvesting tank. The car park will also be fitted with electric vehicle charging points.

Pub director Nic Goodwin said: “Our commitment to sustainability has guided us throughout the project. We have used reclaimed and low-energy materials wherever possible and will be upcycling where possible across our operations too. Our aim is to substantially reduce waste going to landfill and bring our net carbon emissions as close to zero as possible, bearing in mind the nature of the project.

“But what has been most important to us all is bringing back to life our local pub. It has been such an important part of Hankelow over the years, and we’re all tremendously excited for it to open its doors again.”

The incoming general manager will be Christaki Frangeskou who joins chef Jack Fields to create the new offer, which includes a food menu centred around locally sourced seasonal ingredients and featuring refined takes on pub classics. The pub also said it would take advantage of the abundance of microbreweries in the surrounding area to stock a rotating range of cask and craft beer, alongside a core house selection and aims to build a reputation for serving quality beers, as well as showcasing variety.

  • 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​​​​​​​​​​ before midday on Tuesdays.

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