Whelan's and Loungers open sites, village pubs hit market

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Continued expansion: Whelan's and Loungers open new sites
Continued expansion: Whelan's and Loungers open new sites

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

There are new openings from Whelan's pubco and multi-site operator Loungers, as Red Oak Taverns acquires a trio of Marston's venues and several village pubs come to market.

Closed Essex pub has new lease of life

The White Horse pub in Harlow, Essex, was put up for sale by leisure property specialists Fleurets by its owners after closing in early 2022.

Fleurets approached more than 6,000 parties via its database and more than 350 enquires were received, leading to more than a dozen offers with the bidding going to best and final offers.

The pub attracted the interest due to its location on the edge of Harlow common, the plot size and the fact it was in an active community.

The sale has now completed to new owners, a local organisation, who are looking to convert the pub into a place of prayer and events centre for the local community.

Fleurets east office divisional director Simon Jackaman said: “As soon as the property went on the market, we received a considerable number of enquires that resulted in a couple of open viewing days and multiple offers over the guide price being received.

“While there was a lot of interest, there were not many from those wishing to continue its licensing use. The property internally was quite run-down and will have required considerable capital to make it viable. The buyers are 100% community focused and have many plans to make the property a vibrant community hub and I wish them well”.

The White Horse was sold freehold for an undisclosed amount of a guide price of £500,000 plus VAT.

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Grade II pub hits market

The leasehold interest of Grade II listed pub the George & Dragon in Tadley, Hampshire has been brought to market by Fleurets.

Available at a guide price of £150,000, the Grade II listed property is free of all ties.

A new lease was completed by the current tenant in February 2020, after which there was an investment made as well as a full refurb.

The George & Dragon comprises three interconnecting character trading areas (60 covers), 12 ensuite letting bedrooms and spacious living accommodation which is currently being used for Airbnb.

The site also includes gardens, patio, field, three parking areas for approximately 60 cars and several outbuildings.

Fleurets South divisional director Nick Earee commented: “The George & Dragon is a substantial property which has seen continued increasing sales.

“It presents a great opportunity for an operator with previous experience to take advantage of an already successful business.”


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Chance to buy village pub

Christie & Co has brought to market pub with rooms the Sorn Inn, based in East Ayrshire, Scotland.

The traditional pub is located on the village high street near the general store, village hall, café and other local businesses.

The site has been revamped to feature a main reception, bar and dining areas, where up to 45 customers can enjoy food by head chef David Maculloch.

On the first floor there are two recently refurbished letting flats with separate entrances.

Christie & Co business agent Alistair Watt, who is marketing the business, said: “Our client purchased the property in September 2020 and then undertook a complete renovation and refurbishment to create the impressive establishment it is today.
“The Sorn Inn benefits from steady local custom, with the majority of its trade stemming from Sorn and the many surrounding towns and villages in Ayrshire but it also receives visitors from Glasgow and Edinburgh due to its great reputation.”

The pub is on the market at offers of £495,000 for the freehold going concern.


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Loungers launches leisure centre site

UK bar and restaurant company Loungers is opening a new venue in the Neath leisure centre and library complex, Wales, which has just opened to the public.

Known as Cadno Lounge, the outlet in Fairfield Way will be one of more than 200 sites operated by Loungers in England and Wales across two brands – Lounge and Cosy Club.

Cadno Lounge will serve a wide range of meals from tapas and salads to burgers and mac’n’cheese, with plenty of vegan and gluten-free options also on offer.

There will also be a wide range of hot drinks, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and cocktails.

Designed as a longue-restaurant it aims to be a “retro-inspired retreat” with vintage sofas, painted tables and “statement lighting”, according to the operator.

Loungers estimates around 25 jobs will be created by the new site.

A spokesperson for Loungers said: “Particular attention will be paid to families with a selection of games, books, colouring pencils and pads on offer. A full menu, high chairs and baby-changing facilities are also available for Little Loungers.” 

Loungers community manager Gemma Irwin said the company was “delighted” to be bringing Loungers to Neath. 

She continued: “Our Lounges strive to put community at the heart of hospitality and our teams always go the extra mile to make a difference. 

“They are actively encouraged to connect with their communities by working with local groups, charities, organisations and businesses that are at the heart of the fabric of local life.  We are very much looking forward to welcoming local residents to Cadno Lounge.”  

Neath Port Talbot council cabinet member for economic and community regeneration Martyn Peters said: “We welcome Loungers to Neath and I’m sure local residents will welcome this addition to our town centre offer.

“As well as providing a major boost for health and wellbeing in the area, the new leisure centre is aimed at increased town centre footfall and encouraging businesses, like Loungers, to set up in Neath.”


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Community pub reopens after £120k makeover

Local community pub the Keynsham Courtyard in Bristol reopened on Friday 3 February following a £120,000 investment from pubco Admiral Taverns.

The pub, formally known as the Wine Bar, will see a major transformation throughout, following the previous exterior renovation which took place in August 2021, which included a new decking, long tables and seating.

As part of the latest investment, inside, the pub will feature an updated look, including new flooring and light fittings. Outside, the pub will be painted a vibrant blue with fresh new signage.

Keynsham Courtyard licensee Robert Moore has spent 10 years in the sector, running hospitality establishments from sports bars to high-end restaurants.

“I am thrilled to be reopening the Keynsham Courtyard and showcase its revitalised look and feel to the community,” he said.

He continued: “I am extremely pleased with the results so far and am proud of how I’ve taken this pub from strength to strength over the last two years.

“I cannot wait to welcome the community back to their local and highlight all the pub’s new and fantastic offerings!”

The site will also offer a brand-new premium drinks selection according speciality cocktails and wines from all over the world. Moving forward, Moore is planning to introduce a food offering.

The licensee plans to hold live music events as well as a fortnightly quiz night. He will also hold weekly mental health coffee mornings on Fridays to combat loneliness in the village.

Admiral Taverns business development manager David Stallard commented: “It’s fantastic to see how passionate Rob is about the pub, which has been demonstrated through the excellent refurbishments in the past couple of years.

“I cannot wait for the reopening after this extensive and fantastic transformation from the Wine Bar to The Keynsham Courtyard, which I am sure will be a fantastic hub open all day every day in the centre of Keynsham for years to come.

“I would recommend anyone in the area to take a visit, and I wish the pub every success for the future.”

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Whelan’s & Star plough £1.35m into 6th​ site

Whelan’s Pub Company is opening the Fox at Palmers Green, north London, this week after a joint £1.35m refurb with Star Pubs & Bars.

The Fox is Whelan’s sixth pub with Star and the ninth site in Whelan’s portfolio.

The revamp of the pub is the largest joint investment Star has ever made outside of central London and will create 20 new jobs. The landmark site – which was featured in the film Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban ​– has been closed since 2018.

The project has transformed the Fox into a premium local offering quality food, drinks and live sports. The revamped pub features a traditional bar for drinks and socialising, a spacious dining area. There’s also a large lounge that converts into a private function room – complete with its own bar – accommodating up to 120 people.

Whelan’s director Austin Whelan said: “We always like to invest in new sites. Pubs have to move with the times to succeed. Despite the tough economic climate, we remain positive about the future.

“Our experience is that people still want a more premium offer and are prepared to pay for it. Palmers Green has excellent demographics and is crying out for a quality local."

Read more here

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BOXPARK sets sights on new site

BOXPARK has secured planning permission for a new Liverpool venue which will open later this year.

The company has agreed a 15-year lease with Cains Brewery Village for the site, located within the city’s Baltic Triangle.

The venue will be transformed into a food hall and events destination featuring a large internal space with units set over the ground floor, a small internal mezzanine and an external terrace.

BOXPARK chief executive Simon Champion said: “We are delighted to receive the news today that BOXPARK Liverpool has planning approval as our team has put a lot of work into bringing the Canning Hall at Cains Brewery back to life.

“We're very excited to bring jobs, and a lot of fun, to the Baltic Triangle which we see as an area with great prospects over the next few years"

BOXPARK is investing more than £3.5m into the Baltic Triangle and it is expected to bring 150 new jobs to the local community. On top of this, the scheme will also drive significant volume of footfall to the area, with more than 1m people expected to visit each year.

Read more here

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Red Oak acquires trio of Marston’s pubs

Multiple operator Red Oak Taverns has purchased two venues in the Midlands and one in the south west of England from Marston’s.

Red Oak was founded in 2011 by Mark Grunnell and Aaron Brown with an estate mainly concentrated in the south, south west, north west and the Midlands, comprising more than 200 largely leased and tenanted pubs.

On the latest acquisition, co-founder and chief executive Grunnell said: “This is a great start to the year with our continuing acquisition programme, enhancing our growing pub estate.

“By focusing on multiple and single site pub packages, we are evolving our diverse portfolio, providing unique and flexible pub opportunities within the sector.

“These three quality pubs – two located in the Midlands and one in the south-west, complement our pub portfolio and we are looking forward to welcoming the new tenant partners to our business.”

Read more here


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  • To find out about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy go to our property site.​​​​​​​​​
  • 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 nzryvr.znhevpr-wbarf@jeoz.pbz​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ before midday on Tuesdays.

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