Amber Taverns announces three openings

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Green light for Amber sites: the Water House is set to open next week
Green light for Amber sites: the Water House is set to open next week

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Community wet-led pub operator Amber Taverns has announced the opening of three freehold pubs this month (June 2023), in Cheshire, County Durham and Ayrshire.

The business that runs 165 sites throughout the north-east, north-west, The Midlands, Wales and Scotland, has opened the Leopard in Chester this week.

The Foregate Street pub, which was a Bonmarche store, has undergone a £900,000 investment that includes a roof terrace, which is said to be “perfect for the warmer weather”.

Former JDW pub

The Water House opens in Durham next week following a £500,000 investment. A former JD Wetherspoon pub on North Road, it takes its name from the premises’ long association with the city’s water supply as home to the Weardale and Shildon Water Company in Victorian times and the Durham County Water Board, which moved there in the 1920s for several decades.

The third pub is due to open in Irvine, Ayrshire. Established as a popular sports bar formerly known as the R&A Sports, the pub is undergoing a £500,000 refurbishment as a contemporary community pub, building on the success of the previous independent owners, and will reopen as the Northern Way at the end of June.

Amber Taverns chief executive James Baer said: “These three new pub openings demonstrate our continued conviction in the Amber model of a well-designed, contemporary pub with broad demographic appeal, which offers a good quality customer experience in a vibrant and comfortable setting at reasonable prices.”

Enduring appeal

He continued: “Interestingly, the three freehold properties derive from different sources – one former retail site, a private operator and a large national chain – all of which demonstrate our ability to identify opportunities and carry out good-quality refurbishments that enable us to keep growing the business, underpinning the enduring appeal of a high-quality, local community pub thriving at the heart of the communities they serve.”

The group added it has an “encouraging” pipeline with a variety of new site opportunities and is looking to add about 14 to 16 new pubs to its growing portfolio a year.

Amber Taverns, which focuses on a hybrid ‘operator-managed’ business model and runs only wet-led sites, said: “The company has consistently achieved historic high returns of more than 20% on new freehold acquisitions and has lots of target towns within its existing geography to continue to expand its geographic footprint with well-invested pubs at the heart of their communities with broad appeal across the UK.”

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