Property round-up

New openings for experiential models NQ64 and Alcotraz

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

That’s entertainment: NQ64 and Alcotraz are set to open sites while Brakspear has added Ghyll Manor to its managed estate and a reduced price for the Star in Weaverthorpe
That’s entertainment: NQ64 and Alcotraz are set to open sites while Brakspear has added Ghyll Manor to its managed estate and a reduced price for the Star in Weaverthorpe

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

Interactive fun venues NQ64 and Alcotraz lead the latest property news with plenty of sites being acquired, sold and renovated.

NQ64 is ready to play in Glasgow

Neon-lit retro arcade bar brand NQ64 will open a site in Glasgow this spring to bring its total number of locations to seven.

The Glasgow site in Merchant Square will be the brand’s second Scotland venture having opened in Edinburgh in August last year.

With an eye on opening further sites in the UK, NQ64 already operates bars in Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and two in Manchester.

The underground gaming and drinking den in Glasgow will take over the former Distrikt club on Bell Street and promises to be an adult-only playground complete with a multitude of gaming experiences, craft beers and game-themed cocktails – including strawberry gin-based Pacs a Punch and the fiery, rum-heavy Mad Max.

Talented artists have been recruited to create eye-catching street art on its ceilings and walls. Classic arcade games and consoles such Street Fighter, Tekken, Mortal Kombat, SNES, MegaDrive, Gamecube and PlayStation will be available plus Pac-Man, Mario Kart, Guitar Hero, Time Crisis and Point Blank.

Entry is free with NQ64’s retro arcades and pinball machines operating on tokens that can be bought from the bar, while their games consoles are all free to play.

NQ64 founder Matt Robson said: “Glasgow has always been on our radar. We’ve been looking for the perfect NQ64 location since we decided the grow the brand back in 2019.

“We can’t wait to share our venue with guests looking for a different night out. We’re working hard on a new drinks offering and a couple of other surprises for the Glasgow launch.”

RESIZEDBar.at.NQ64

Alcotraz set for Liverpool

Prison-themed interactive experience Alcotraz is set to open its biggest site to date on Friday 11 March in Liverpool.

‘Alcotraz: Cell Block Three-Six’ is the name of the speakeasy prison located at 36 Seel Street. The experience is based on a theatrical show with cocktails where customers bring their own spirits and then smuggle liquor within the prison confines where bartenders make bespoke cocktails based on the alcohol brought in, meaning it is menu-free.

The ‘serving’ inmates deliver drinks to customers who are kitted out in prison clothing while crooked guards have a system for hiding contraband while avoiding the eye of the warden.

The company said this new penitentiary “will be the biggest and most ambitious Alcotraz yet”. Alcotraz already operates sites sites in London, Brighton and Manchester.

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Brakspear adds 10th site to its Honeycomb Houses estate

Pub operator Brakspear is adding to its newly rebranded managed division, Honeycomb Houses, with the purchase of hotel with wedding and functions, Ghyll Manor.

The acquisition takes Honeycomb Houses up to 10 pubs and stretches the estate's reach beyond its Cotswolds and Oxfordshire heartland.

Ghyll Manor is located in the village of Rusper, West Sussex. It was built in 1678, the timber-framed building is set in 25 acres of grounds including a lake, landscaped gardens, woodlands and tennis courts. Accommodation is offered in 29 bedrooms within the main house and in cottages in the grounds while weddings for up to 120 people are held there too.

Ghyll Manor was closed during the 2020 lockdown by previous owners Boundless Breaks and was bought by Brakspear in December last year.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “We’re thrilled to bring Ghyll Manor into the Honeycomb Houses family. It’s an outstanding venue with enormous potential and commands huge affection locally, which we’re confident we can harness to restore it as the most sought-after wedding venue in the area.

“Ghyll Manor becomes our first wedding business outside the Cotswolds. In developing it, we will draw on our experience at the Frogmill near Cheltenham, which has thrived since we opened it in 2018, both as a function venue and as a weekend break and dining destination – so we'll be looking to build the same broad appeal at Ghyll Manor.”

Brakspear intends to reopen Ghyll Manor in 2023 and is considering the site's potential before making firm redevelopment plans, though these will include a major refurbishment and the addition of more bedrooms.

Brakspear rebranded its managed division as Honeycomb Houses in November 2021, when it also stated its ambition to acquire new sites that met its brief of larger, rural pubs with bedrooms, in the south-east.

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Price reduction for pub with letting rooms in North Yorkshire

Family-friendly village pub-restaurant with letting rooms – the Star Inn – in Weaverthorpe, near Malton, has been reduced in price to £385,000.

Surrounded by the Yorkshire countryside, the Star Inn comprises a 55-cover restaurant and bar area, an open beer garden to the front and a function marquee, along with parking to the rear. The guest house offers five luxury en-suite rooms and there is also a two-bedroom owner’s apartment.

The business has been owned and operated by Julien and Rachel Martel since 2016. They have made the decision to bring the property to market to pursue other business ventures.

Commenting on the decision to reduce the asking price, Sam Ashton, senior business agent at Christie & Co, which is handling the sale, said: “With the price of the freehold being reduced by £80,000, we’re sending out a message to the market in order to achieve a quick and fair result this year. My clients and I look forward to engaging with serious purchasers who wish to gain ownership of this fantastic village pub and guesthouse.”

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Gin distillery among assets of Scottish Secret Herb Garden site on sale

A 7.5-acre site that is home to a gin distillery close to Pentland Hills Regional Park near Edinburgh has been placed on the market.

The Secret Herb Garden and The Secret Garden Distillery includes an award-winning sustainable premium gin distillery, extensive botanical herb garden, shop, bistro, award-winning events venue, parking for 60 vehicles and a five-bedroom house with private gardens and orchard.

The current owners established the business in 2012 and it now encompasses the only Scottish premium gin distillery in the UK where the botanicals are grown, hand-harvested and hand-dried on site, where the gin is also distilled.

Planning permission has been granted for a major new-build distillery extension including toilet facilities, visitor centre and offices. In addition there are numerous quirky buildings within the herb garden with a variety of uses, from warehousing and beekeeping facilities, to a yurt and a railway carriage which has been converted to an office for the bistro operators.

Earlier this year, The Secret Garden Distillery was rebranded and the new-look spirits range was introduced.

Luke French of Savills rural agency, which is handling the sale, said:  “The Secret Herb Garden, with its sustainability and lifestyle credentials, is just the sort of opportunity that has been catching attention of savvy investors during the pandemic - from life-style buyers to corporates.  Having a ready-made reputation, idyllic location, established footfall, and of course Herb Cottage (a lovely residential property) thrown in, will only exacerbate demand.”

The price for the site is available upon application to Savills.

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Inn Collection Group takes its first site in 2022

North of England-based pub operator The Inn Collection Group has completed its first acquisition of the year with the purchase of the 38-room the Glenridding Hotel in the Lake District.

The pubco bought the Ullswater venue for an undisclosed value, taking its Lake District portfolio to nine and its overall site count to 28.

The Inn Collection Group managing director Sean Donkin said: “The Glenridding Hotel is a real bucket list addition to the group. We are delighted to be expanding into further key Lake District areas in the UK’s most visited national park.

“Exceptional locations are very much a group USP and the Glenridding Hotel has this in spades. We look forward to building on the strong reputation this classic site enjoys and enhancing this with a careful refurbishment in line with our ‘Eat, Drink, Sleep and Explore’ concept and brand.”

To read the full story, click here​.

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Greene King teams up with licensees to invest £280k into Prince Albert

The Prince Albert pub in Ely, Cambridgeshire, has received a £280,000 investment from Greene King Pub Partners in conjunction with its long-term business partners Mike and Jeanene Connelly.

The joint investment has created a new oak-framed garden room, with bifold doors providing an additional 40 covers, plus gender-neutral toilets, a pizza oven and a new kitchen all within the newly landscaped garden.

Greene King Pub Partners business development manager Chris Cocker said: “Mike and Jeanene are experienced pub operators and are serial investors in their businesses alongside us. It’s brilliant to see what they have done at the Prince Albert over the years, I’m sure with the new trading area they will continue to go from strength to strength”.

To read the full story, click here​.

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Inn Hospitality Group takes lease on Olde Ship in Seahouses

Pub operator Inn Hospitality Group has acquired the lease of Seahouses’ iconic harbourside pub, the Olde Ship Inn.

The nautical-themed pub-hotel is a favourite in the Northumberland village and its sale was handled by estate agent Christie & Co.

Previous operator and now licensee Alan Glen said: “The Ship has been in our family since 1910, with our daughter Judith and her husband David involved in running the business for the past 20 years. The decision to sell the business and lease out the premises was not one we took lightly. However, we’re looking forward to moving on to the next chapter in our lives, knowing the property is in the hands of very capable and trustworthy tenants.”

Ollie Bennett and Matt Daniel of the Inn Hospitality Group, the successful new leaseholders added: “Businesses like the Olde Ship very rarely come to market, so when David approached us we jumped at the chance. We are absolutely thrilled to have been successful in what was a very competitive bidding process. Alan, David and Judith have put their trust in us as tenants to look after their property and we’re 100% committed to doing so.”

For the full story, click here​.

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