March opening slated for Alchemist site after £550k revamp
Manchester-born bar-restaurant operator The Alchemist is set to reopen its Spinningfields site in Manchester next month after a £550,000 fit-out.
The Alchemist Spinningfields will be the first of the group’s sites to reveal “the original alchemists’ new style, featuring futuristic, divine influences from astrology and the cosmos”.
The cosmic-inspired renovation of the all-day dining and cocktail space will include the addition of two new private areas for late-night cocktails. Theatre is served with a brand-new food menu revealed, as well as a new cocktail and drinks offering landing in May.
The Alchemist chief executive Simon Potts said: “The Alchemist footprint has spread across the UK over the past few years, as we’ve taken our hospitality brand down to London and up to Scotland, but we’ve always remained a Manchester company, at heart.
“The Spinningfields venue is an institution and much loved by our teams and guests alike. We look forward to bringing our new design direction to the city in March. The refurbishment also marks a new phase of growth for the business as we put the recent challenges behind us and look forward to the renewed evolution and expansion of the brand.”
The Alchemist makes cocktails using theatre and immersive experiences at its all-day sites across the UK that also provide casual dining. The Alchemist cocktail bars and restaurants are located in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Cheltenham, Oxford, Nottingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh.
Inn Collection Group sold as it opens three new sites
The Inn Collection Group has opened three sites within the past week and been sold by current backers Alchemy for an estimated £300m.
The Northumberland-based pub and hotel operator has been acquired by a new company backed by The Harris Family Trusts together with Kings Park Capital, which will see the company continue “business as usual” with its existing teams, as it continues to roll out strategic ‘buy and build’ growth plans to expand its pubs with rooms model across the north of England and north Wales.
The Inn Collection Group’s portfolio has reached 31 following the completion of deals for two Lake District venues. Its purchases include 36-room The Regent Hotel on the shores of Lake Windermere and the 19-room Ambleside Lake House on Waterhead Bay, in a deal with an undisclosed sum.
The move has taken the group’s Cumbria estate to 10 and its total estate count to 31, with further acquisitions in the pipeline.
Sean Donkin, managing director for The Inn Collection Group said: “It is a landmark achievement for the group to have passed the 30-site marker and I’m delighted that it has been with venues of the calibre as The Regent Hotel and Ambleside Lake House.
“It is a sign of The Inn Collection Group’s ongoing commitment and investment in the Lake District as we drive forward strategic expansion plans with our Eat, Drink, Sleep and Explore concept while making significant contributions into the communities around our sites with employment, inter trading and wider economic benefits.”
Both The Regent Hotel and Ambleside Lake House will continue trading ahead of undergoing refurbishments later in the year.
The deals follow the purchase of the 90-bedroom Hotel St George in Harrogate (see main image) and Ullswater lakeside venue The Glenridding Hotel in the last seven days.
The Hotel St George is an Edwardian site in the centre of the historic spa town that was acquired for an undisclosed value, as it continues to broaden its customer base across Yorkshire.
Donkin said: “The Hotel St George is an exciting acquisition for us as we continue to expand our customer base and imprint in Yorkshire while continuing to roll out our buy and build strategy as an operator.
“We have had Harrogate in our sights for a considerable time. The Hotel St George has everything we look for in a The Inn Collection Group venue: a first-class destination, placing our guests into the heart of the UK’s best locations – it is a perfect site for exploring Harrogate and the surrounding Yorkshire Dales.”
Salt Beer factory to launch sixth taproom this week
Craft beer brewer Salt Beer Factory is launching its sixth branded taproom that will combine craft beer and falafel food in central Leeds on Friday 18 February.
The newly refurbished site, which was previously Craft Asylum, will be the second Salt taproom in Leeds following its ‘Salt Craft + Cocktails’ venue. This latest venture – SALT Craft + Falafel – offers views of the Leeds and Liverpool canal from its Candle House, Granary Wharf, base. It will also offer seven different cocktails on tap under its two for £12 all day, every day offer.
Salt also runs Craft + Pizza in London and Craft + Bao in Sheffield while the latest site will see Salt partner with culinary brand Falafel Guys, which has become a staple for Leeds at a food van in Briggate.
Salt Beer Factory founder Jamie Lawson said: “We wanted to extend our presence in Leeds while still offering something different. We were blown away by the reception to Salt Leeds Craft + Cocktails and we wanted to offer a little bit of diversity in a fast-growing area of the city centre.
“Salt Craft + Falafel is inspired by our love for food and venues that offer something for everyone. Craft beer and street food is such a natural pairing and adds to our pursuit of ‘beer perfection’.”
Falafel Guys co-owner Abdalla Ramzy added: “We are always actively looking to expand and when the opportunity with Salt came up we had to go for it. We are super excited to be opening another location and joining Salt. The team here is incredible and Salt is a great place. We've been planning our next move for some time now. As a company we believe Salt is the right place for Falafel Guy's next home.”
Chickpea Group to launch six bedrooms at historic Wiltshire pub
South-west-based pub operator Chickpea Group is set to open six bedrooms at the Bell & Crown pub in Zeals on the Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset borders.
The pub, which is more than 200 years old, has long been a favourite with locals but “with the addition of bedrooms, the pub will now provide the perfect countryside escape or ideal stop off on your way to Devon or Cornwall”.
The six new en-suite bedrooms will be “simply and stylishly decorated in a calming, neutral palette with pops of colour”. Each will have a bathroom with shower, king-sized beds, eclectic artwork and antique French nursing chairs. To the rear of the pub is a small outdoor seating area with sheepskin blanketed chairs, a stretch tent and views of the arable field opposite and the Wiltshire countryside beyond.
The Bell & Crown was renovated extensively in 2019 by the group and has retained its charm and many of its original features including the well-trodden flagstone floors and large open fireplaces.
There will be breakfast available to guests in the pub the next morning overseen by head chef Joey Haynes.
The Chickpea Group operates a handful of pubs with rooms and pizza shops and is owned and run by brother and sister, Ethan and Jordan Davids, along with their friend, Tommy Tullis.
The rooms at The Bell & Crown will be available from £95 per night B&B based on two people sharing and bookable seven days a week.
Country inn to open under new owners
Tavern Property Company has sold the freehold of the Shoulder of Mutton in Hazeley Heath, Hampshire, to Hidden Gem Restaurants for an undisclosed sum off a marketing guide of £600,000.
The Shoulder of Mutton, which closed permanently before the pandemic, is one of 21 properties listed as an Asset of Community Value by Hart District Council and is located 2.5 miles north-east of the larger village of Hartley Wintney and 11 miles from Reading and Basingstoke.
Hidden Gem Restaurants director Jon Taylor said: “We are delighted to have acquired the Shoulder of Mutton. My family have lived around the corner from the Shoulder of Mutton for 15 years and were saddened to see this local favourite close during Covid.
“We have bought the pub with a family friend who is a chef at one of the top restaurants in the country and have a vision to transform it back into a warm, inviting pub offering good quality, locally sourced, food and a extensive range of local beers and spirits. We look forward to welcoming everyone back, and feel sure they will be pleasantly surprised by what awaits them.”
Chris Bickle, director in the licensed leisure team at Savills Southampton, which handled the sale, added: “The sale of the Shoulder of Mutton was concluded after receiving multiple offers. It was evident that people wanted to see the pub returned to its former glory and so it is a very pleasing outcome to hear of the new owner’s plans. We wish them every success.”
The detached traditional country inn spans 3,918sq ft (364 sq m) across ground-floor trading and ancillary areas and first floor living accommodation. Located to the rear of the property is a terrace and beer garden. The first floor is configured to provide four bedrooms, reception, kitchen and bathroom. There is a tarmac car park with space for approximately 30 vehicles. It occupies a plot measuring approximately 0.957 acres (0.387 hectares).
New tenants found for 16th century Bourne Valley pub
New tenants have been secured the George & Dragon, a former coaching inn with rooms located in the parish of Hurstbourne Tarrant, part of the Bourne Valley and the North Wessex Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Dating back to the 16th century, this grade II-listed building is a quintessential British country pub with rooms, positioned in an area hugely popular with walkers, cyclists and tourists.
The property has been owned by Patrick Vaughn-Fowler, a chef and experienced operator, since 2014, during which time the building has been sympathetically restored to celebrate its many original features.
The pub now features a large bar and restaurant, separate function room and beer garden, along with eight en-suite letting rooms and a separate letting cottage, with ample parking for 30 vehicles.
Experienced licensees Ryan Stacey and Billy Callaway, who have operated other pubs in the area, have secured the lease for the site and are planning a full refurbishment of the rooms and trading spaces. Stacey said: “Billy and I are looking forward to running this beautiful country pub and are delighted to have secured a long-term lease with Patrick who we have known for many years. We look forward to working with him in the future.”
Richard Wood from Christie & Co, which handled the deal, added “I have no doubt given Ryan and Billy’s wealth of experience in industry that they will be able to build on Patrick’s success in the coming months and years. We continue to see demand from tenants wanting to take on free-of-tie pubs throughout the south of England so for those wishing to take a step back from the day-to-day operations, it’s a great time to consider creating a new lease and securing a tenant.”
Long service award for Sheffield pub licensees
Licensees of one of Sheffield’s oldest pubs – Fagans on Broad Street – have received a prestigious long-service award in recognition of more than 35 years at the helm.
Sheffield born-and-bred Tom Boulding and his wife Barbara – who hails from Barnsley – took over the pub in 1985 when it was called the Barrel. The couple renamed it Fagans after its local nickname and in honour of the previous landlord – Joe Fagan – who ran the pub from 1947. The award from the building’s owners, Star Pubs & Bars, highlights the contribution the Bouldings have made to Sheffield life during their time at the pub.
One of the last traditional pubs in the city centre, Fagans is known for its Irish heritage, cask ale and legendary Guinness, good conversation and live music sessions, which are open to musicians five nights a week.
Tom said: “Walking into Fagans is like stepping back in time. It’s a proper old-fashioned pub. That’s why we wanted it. We loved it just as it was when we first saw it and we still do. The area around has transformed out of all recognition since the mid-80s. The factories and offices have gone and we’re surrounded by new buildings, but Fagans remains the same.”
The Bouldings were inundated with offers of financial support when the first lockdown came. Barbara said: “We were astonished and very touched. It showed just how much Fagans means to people. Fortunately, we didn’t need to take a penny, as we had first-class rent support from Star Pubs & Bars, which kept the pub afloat.”
Star Pubs & Bars area manager Anthony Lowther-Knowles added: “It’s a great honour to present this award to Tom and Barbara. They put their hearts and souls into Fagans, and have retained all its wonderful quirkiness, friendliness and character. It’s all credit to them that Fagans is still thriving and is such a well-loved Sheffield institution.”
Eataly bar and restaurant to open this month
Terra, Eataly’s wood-fired dining experience focusing on seasonal ingredients and Italian wine and spirits, is set to open on Wednesday (16 February) on Liverpool Street, east London.
Italian grilled food operator will open its fourth and final restaurant and bar, Terra, in its own secluded corner of Eataly. Offering a relaxed and inviting dining space, Terra – meaning earth – focuses on seasonal ingredients cooked over fire, paying respect to ancient and simple Italian cooking techniques, with dishes served alongside Italian wines and cocktails.
Along with an impressive food menu, Terra will also offer what it says is the longest Italian wine list in Europe outside of Italy, with 2,000 labels available from its wine cellar. Its cocktails have been curated by Georgia Billing with an emphasis on Italian produce: vermouths, grappa, and amaro (bitter) liqueurs.
Beavertown reopens taproom in Tottenham
Craft brewer and pub operator Beavertown has reopened its north London taproom.
New spaces at the site include an indoor seating area in the barrel room, an upstairs space with full view of the brewery and fully covered outdoor drinking area.
The site boasts 11 taps, including the whole Beavertown range and specials on draught, along with an entire makeover designed by creative director Nick Dwyer, which is said to “offer fans a portal into the weird and wonderful Beavertown world”.
Dwyer said: “We’ve been working on the revamp over the course of the last year and, to do that, I really dived into the memory banks while also looking to the future to come up with an exciting new look for the taproom. We see it as our house, because it’s always been the place where the energy, colour and story of Beavertown come to life but, ultimately, we just want it to be a welcoming, fun place to visit with your mates and drink some tasty beer.”
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