Robinsons and Almond Pubs invest £500k into Manchester site

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Property refurbs: this week's round-up features Robinson's, Star Pubs & Bars, Admiral Taverns and Punch
Property refurbs: this week's round-up features Robinson's, Star Pubs & Bars, Admiral Taverns and Punch

Related tags Property Multi-site pub operators Finance

In this week's property round-up, Almond Pubs director Vicki Williams discusses the new look for the Fletcher's Arms in Manchester and ongoing "conversations" about future partnerships with Robinsons Brewery.

Robinsons and Almond Pubs complete major refurb on Manchester site


Robinsons Brewery and Almond Pubs have jointly invested half-a-million-pounds into the Fletcher’s Arms in Manchester, with hopes for more partnerships in the future in the pipeline.

The pub was closed for 8 weeks as work was carried out to replace the venue’s roof and other external repairs including signage, which was organised and funded by Robinson’s as per its tenancy agreement, as well as complete a major interior refurbishment, including moving the bar.

Almond Pubs, which has two leases with Greene King and two with Robinsons, director Vicki Williams (nee Almond) told The Morning Advertiser: “The building needed a whole new roof and that meant that we had to be closed for such a long period of time, which gave us an opportunity to refurbish internally.

“We've wanted to move and reinvent the bar for a long time. It was a central island raised bar with a back-to-back mirror version either side, which was wonderful when it was designed in the 80’s for a busy drinkers type pub, but as the as the business has evolved to more food led, that bar just wasn't operationally viable."

Williams explained "too often" staff would have their back to the customer and that the bar "divided the pub" as it was right through the middle, meaning customers who were "not interested" in the food side of the business would have to walk past and through the dining rooms before getting to the lounge.

“Now, we've created this space where the back bar runs along the back wall of the pub with enormous windows that overlook the courtyard. We've got loads of light coming through, some really high ceilings.

“We've essentially swapped the lounge with the bar and created some lovely inviting deep button leather booths in the middle of the pub so guests feel immediately invited", she continued. 

Moreover, Williams added the reopening at the end of last month helped boost footfall at the pub during what is typically a quieter time of year, with trade up 30% compared with the same period last year as regulars and new customers alike came to see the new look.”

Williams added Robinsons had been “pivotal” in getting the project over the line, notably injecting £80,000 into the bar renovations, and that the family-run business was “actively looking” to partner with Robinsons on more sites in the future as well as develop their existing portfolio.

She concluded: “We're having conversations with Robinsons, and we hope it's a long and prosperous partnership.”

Morgan Pub collective takes on sixth lease with Greene King


The Morgan Pub Collective has taken on its sixth pub with Greene King Pub Partners, the leased and tenanted arm of Greene King, the Gardner’s Arms in Oxford.

Located on North Parade in the suburb of Jericho, the pub has been transformed following a £270,000 investment from its owners Greene King.

Inside the Gardner’s Arms has benefited from new seating, tables and fixtures and fittings throughout, including new lighting, tiling, and refurbished wooden flooring. Outside, the pub has been upgraded with new signage.

Operator of the Gardner’s Arms Richard Morgan said the family-run pubco, which has been in business for more than 40 years and operates 10 sites across London and South, were “really pleased” to add the pub its “growing portfolio” with Greene king.

In line with Morgan Pub’s offering, the venue will offer gastro-pub style food alongside its own brews and a wide range of craft beer.

Greene King Pub Partners manging director Dan Robinson said: “We are delighted to see the Gardener’s Arms re-open under the stewardship of Richard and the Morgan Pub Collective.

“Our £270,000 investment has transformed the pub inside and out, ready to deliver the offer the Morgan Pub Collective is known for.

“It is exciting to be growing our already successful partnership with the Morgan Pub Collective and we look forward to opening more successful pub businesses together.”

Inn Collection unveils new multi-million-pound look for Ripon pub


The Inn Collection Group last month welcomed customers back to the Ripon Inn, North Yorkshire, following a multi-million-pound refurbishment.

Undertaken in partnership with Silverstone Building Consultancy and STP Construction, the new look boasts new furnishings throughout, including the introduction of 18 new bedrooms and the redevelopment of the Ale House, formerly known as the Turf Tavern.

The Ale house is a is a dedicated real ale hub within the inn, with six pumps installed to showcase of a wide array of serves, including Black Sheep, Rooster’s Brewing Company and Theakston’s amongst the first to be represented.

Gold medal-winning diver Jack Laugher MBE joined the operator for the reopening, which marked the firm’s third and final reopening in North Yorkshire this year.

The Inn Collection Group CEO Sean Donkin said: “The Ripon Inn is a fantastic addition to our estate.

“It has huge potential and our teams and partners have realised the exciting vision that we had for the property when we bought it back in 2021.

“Following on from the well-received re-openings of The Harrogate Inn and The Knaresborough Inn, I am excited for Ripon to open and for the revitalisation of this classic, landmark site to start in earnest.

“We’ve created what we hope is a welcoming place to enjoy food, drinks and company whilst at the same time, taking care to retain the unique, historic character of the building.”

Multiple operator takes on first lease with Star


A Star Pubs & Bars site in Poole has reopened with new management and a new name.

Southern-based multiple operator Nick Warner has taken on his first lease with the pubco, the Penn Central, reopening the pub under its new name, Bank by Nicholas James.

The pub has been given a £355,000 makeover, a joint investment from the Star and Warner, bringing the operators total number of pubs, bars and restaurants to five.

Star area manager Stephen McInerney said: “We’re delighted to be investing in Bank by Nicholas James to take it to the next level.

“Nick is a very experienced operator with detailed local knowledge. The upgrade together with good food and drink delivered consistently will transform this well-located suburban site.”

This comes as Star last week revealed a new look for its flagship site in Cardiff, Wales, following a £1.4m renovation project.

The Unicorn, which is part of Star’s manged model Just Add Talent (JAT), was revamped inside and out, with its menu also updated. Read more here​.

Admiral invests £500k into pub estate 


Admiral Taverns has reopened two pubs after investing £500k into its pub estate.

The Waterloo pub in Wakefield received a £280k refurbishment and the Cotton Tree in Manchester benefitted from a £220k renovation.

Both pubs are part of Admiral’s Proper Pubs division and have benefited from new bar areas, including new furniture, fixtures and flooring throughout as well as new signage and seating improvements outside.

In line with the Proper Pubs offering, the venues will offer a wide range of drinks, including cocktails, wine and fizz promotions as well as showing Sky Sports, TNT and horse racing.

Punch reopens pub with rooms in Cumbria 


Punch Pubs has unveiled a £140,000 new look for the Station Hotel in Cumbria.

The Eden Valley pub has benefitted from a newly renovated downstairs bar, toilet and upstairs function room.

In addition, a new screen has also been installed in the site’s beer garden to accompany its Sky and BT Sports subscriptions.

The Station’s menu will showcase traditional dishes including fish and chips, chilli con carne and gammon, alongside pastas, rice and risottos.

All freshly made on site, the pub will also cater for their hotel guests providing breakfasts and takeaway items seven days a week.

Punch Pubs operations manager Becky Davies said: “I am really excited about the re-opening of the Station and look forward to continue to work with the licensee on his exciting plans for the future, which include a second phase in the New Year for the letting bedrooms.”

18th century Cheshire pub reveals new look


A 400-year-old pub in Cheshire has reopened its doors to the public with a brand-new look.

The Bear’s Head in Bereton was closed for around a month as work underwent to complete the refurbishment, which included refreshed décor, a new beer garden and the addition of a new dining room.

Accompanying its new look, the 18th​ century pub will also offer a revamped menu, including oven-baked chicken forestiere, seared seabass fillet and country pub classics such as steak, home-made pies and traditional fish and chips.

Kensal Rise pub reopens with new name and management 

The William image

The William IV pub in Kensal Rise, north-west London, is set to reopen this month under new management.

LOCI pubs, which describes itself as “dedicated to rescuing historic pubs around London”, has revamped the pub with rooms in line with its signature contemporary style with a new food and drink menu, including cocktails and brunch.

‘The William’ is the fourth addition to the group’s portfolio, after the launch of the Alliance in West Hampstead in May last year, and continues LOCI’s mission to create “beautiful, buzzy” pubs that become a neighbourhood hub for locals, families, and businesses.

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