Celeb chefs enter pub trade, new sites from JDW & Bar + Block

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Gastropubs, bars & city sites: Celeb chefs and pub giants invest in new sites
Gastropubs, bars & city sites: Celeb chefs and pub giants invest in new sites

Related tags Jd wetherspoon Tommy Banks Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators Tenanted + leased Finance Property James Martin Bar + Block

JD Wetherspoon and James Martin have launched sites, while venues are coming soon from Bar + Block and Tommy Banks.

Grade II pub off market

Leisure property specialist Fleurets has completed the letting of the Royal Oak Hotel in Hawkhurst, East Sussex on behalf of pubco Stonegate.

The Grade II Listed pub is situated in the heart of the Wealden town among local shops and businesses.

Furthermore, the property has 12 en suite letting bedrooms, two function rooms and a bar and restaurant, with outdoor seating, including a beer garden at the year.

Royal Oak Hotel has now been let to Bowes Hospitality, and it’s the operator’s third venture in three years. The company’s co-founder Laurence Bowes said: “We are attracted to historic buildings, lots of character, good energy and a raft of our boxes that The Royal Oak ticked.

“Not least of which was that it needed some much love and care to reach its potential which happens to be our superpower.”

Fleurets senior associate Simon Bland added: “Living locally, I am particularly pleased to have been involved in the successful letting of the Royal Oak. I know Hawkhurst is a thriving community with the Royal Oak at its heart and wish Laurence and his team every success.”


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Country pub up for grabs

The Horse & Hound Country Inn, a pub with lettings rooms in Hawick, Scottish Borders, has been brought to market by Christie & Co.

Built in 1701, the site is a traditional stone-built property, nestled in Bonchester Bridge village, near the border with England.

The hotel features nine en-suite bedrooms, which have been individually decorated. There is also a one-bedroom owner’s accommodation

Furthermore, the hotel’s ground floor includes a 60-seat restaurant and 40-seat bar and snug area, which hosts a variety of music and quiz events each month. Guests can also enjoy an outdoor beer garden.

Christie & Co business agent Simon Watson, who is handling the sale, commented: “We are delighted to offer the opportunity for the leasehold of this historic country inn. This is the perfect business opportunity for anyone wanting to relocate to the country.”

The Horse & Hound Country Inn is on the market at a leasehold asking price of £100,000 and annual rent of £27,000.


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Bar + Block announces 21st site

Whitbread’s contemporary steakhouse brand Bar + Block has announced its latest opening in Birmingham, West Midlands, bringing its portfolio up to 21 sites.

Opening on Monday 27, the venue will be Bar + Block’s second site in Birmingham, launching on the ground floor within phase two of the Exchange Square residential development in the city centre.

The new 6,000 sq ft steakhouse features 170 covers inside, with an added 48 covers outside and adjoins a 235-bed Premier Inn hotel.

The menus will follow Bar + Block’s all-day trading format, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Alongside its signature steaks, menus will also feature fresh burgers, salads, grills and sharing plates.

Open until 11pm (10.30pm Sunday), the bar will serve a curated list of cocktails, including two-for-one offers every evening from 5pm to 7pm, alongside a list of craft beers, wines, and spirits.

Exclusive to Birmingham, there will also be a signature Chock a Block cocktail, a mix of Absolut Vanilia Vodka, Baileys Choc Luxe, salted caramel syrup and toffee sauce, inspired by the nearby Cadbury’s World.  

Led by designer Harrisons, the interior will feature a statement bar with copper detailing, a large open kitchen for diners to catch the action and an eclectic mix of tables, including booths and high-top tables.

This will be complemented by decorative finishing touches including the brand’s trademark neon wall calligraphy detailing the Bar + Block story, alongside contemporary artwork and foliage.

Whitbread commercial marketing director Rebecca Donaldson commented: “We are delighted to announce the further expansion of Bar + Block as we continue to grow the brand nationwide.

“Marking our first Bar + Block opening of 2023, the steakhouse will be joining a brand-new retail and restaurant hub, located in the heart of Birmingham and close to key transport hubs, and we are confident our mix of quality, expertly sourced steaks and accessible price point will appeal to locals and visitors.”


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JD Wetherspoon opens O2 pub

A new JD Wetherspoon (JDW) pub has opened at The O2 today (Tuesday 21 March) after a whopping £2.9m investment.

The Stargazer, located in Peninsula Square in Greenwich, east London, sits within The O2’s Entertainment District. It’s adjacent to Mamma Mia! The Party.

The new venue features a 3,800 sq ft beer garden offering views across the Thames and Canary Wharf.

Pub manager Arber Hasani was “confident” the Stargazer would be a great addition to The O2 Entertainment District.

The Stargazer will create 85 jobs​​ and will open from 10am until 12.15am Monday to Sunday with food being served throughout the day, from opening until 11pm daily.

Read more here


Tommy Banks to open gastropub

The Banks family, Matthew Lockwood and the Tommy Banks Group have announced the forthcoming launch of a pub with rooms in North Yorkshire in late spring.

The new venture, close to their Michelin-starred restaurant the Black Swan, will have a focus on hyper-locality and sustainability, keeping in line with the company’s ethos. Produce grown and reared in the family’s farm in Oldstead will take centre stage.

The team is working on a refresh of the historic site, with a state-of-the-art kitchen, relaxed dining room and bar area complete with roaring fires and a well-stocked bar.

The food-focused pub will include a number of rooms, and two-night packages will be on offer for guests wanting to visit the Black Swan as well as the new pub.

Read more here


James Martin launches gastropub

TV chef James Martin has launched a pub in a 16th century venue located in Broadway, the Cotswolds.

The pub, named Tavern, opened in 600-year-old hotel the Lygon Arms last week, and is nestled on the village high street.

Now, the hotel is home to two restaurants run by the celebrity chef, after Martin launched restaurant Grill in February.

The Lygon Arms’ website described the pub as the perfect place to “relax in the cosy ambience with a local cider or ale and watch the world go by”.

Martin took to Instagram to announce the opening, stating he was “so excited” for the new venture.

Tavern will serve a menu of grazing dishes and nibbles, including a sausage roll with mustard, relish and pickles; Little Oak Middlewhite and scotch egg with piccalilli relish; hot pork pie, Cotswold ploughman’s, shepherd’s pie, and baked aubergine with tabbouleh.


Read more here

  • 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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