Star operator takes on third lease

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Property: This week's round-up features Star Pubs & Bars, Flight Club, M&B, Arc Inspirations and more
Property: This week's round-up features Star Pubs & Bars, Flight Club, M&B, Arc Inspirations and more

Related tags Property Finance Multi-site pub operators

This week's property round-up features investments from Star Pubs & Bars, Flight Club, M&B, Arc Inspirations and more.

Star operator takes on third lease 

22nd May 2024 The Wheatsheaf Leyland (52)

A North-West multiple operator has taken on his third lease with Star Pubs & Bars​.

Licensee John Lloyd has taken the reigns at the Wheatsheaf in Leyland, Lancashire, after running the site on a temporary basis for the past five months.

The Wheatsheaf is set to receive a £100k revamp as part of a joint investment by Lloyd, who also runs the Black Bull in Penwortham and the Plough in Euxton, and Star.

Lloyd said: “All my pubs are different. I take on each pub on its merits. The Black Bull appeals to workers and locals, whereas the Wheatsheaf attracts families at weekends and the Plough has a broad appeal with its beer garden, crazy golf and food.

“Covid was awful for everyone, but it also brought opportunities with pubs coming onto the market.

“The pub trade was challenging earlier this year, but sales started to grow again in March. It’s going to be a good summer ahead helped by some major sporting events.”

In addition, the operator, who has worked in the pub industry for 40-years, shared plans to add another Star site to his portfolio by the end of the year and a fifth in 2025.

The investment at the Wheatsheaf will see the pub upgraded inside and out. With a lounge, bar area and a new pool room created to build on the venue’s strong sports following.

All areas including the toilets are set to be redecorated alongside plans to remodel the bar with a combination of fixed seats, high bar stools and a high-definition TV.

The sports/pool room will also benefit from the addition of a new pool table, TV and a Halo lit darts board while the walls will be decorated with sporting bric-a-brac on LED lit shelving.

Outside, the Wheatsheaf will receive new lighting and signage to compliment an external refresh which will see the seating capacity in the beer garden increase by 50% with new garden furniture, parasols and planters installed.

In addition to showing live Sky and TNT sports and providing pool and darts, Lloyd’s plans for the Wheatsheaf include the reintroduction of cask ale for the first time in a decade as well as dominoes, regular quizzes, karaoke, charity fundraisers and live entertainment every fortnight.

Star ​business development manager Richie Roberts said: “The much-needed refurbishment will completely transform the Wheatsheaf taking it to the next level.

“The introduction of cask ale will attract new customers as John has already established a reputation for good cask ale at the Black Bull.

“I wish John, his team, and the customers of the Wheatsheaf a great summer ahead as the pub is reopening during the Euros.”

Fuller's reopens Cromwell Arms

The Cromwell Arms

Fuller, Smith & Turner has welcomed customers back to the Cromwell Arms in Romsey, Hampshire, with a brand-new look.

Complimenting the surrounding countryside, the revamp is accompanied by a new menu featuring fresh and seasonal ingredients including pub classics such as the pie of the day and new dishes including brown butter chalk stream trout fillet with crushed Ratte potatoes, olives and capers alongside vegetarian and plant-based options and a kids’ menu.

The pub with rooms will also host a variety of events, including Fuller's Opera in the Garden.

Cromwell Arms general manager Sean Knight said: “I am delighted the doors of the Cromwell Arms have reopened. The pub looks incredible and my team and I are raring to go.

“The Cromwell Arms has something for everyone. It’s a stunning spot on the edge of town giving you brilliant access to so many beautiful walks in the surrounding Hampshire countryside.

"We have 14 boutique bedrooms – so it’s the perfect place for anyone looking for an overnight stay before heading off on a cruise from Southampton, or just wanting to spend a night or two to get to know the local area. We are, of course, dog-friendly too – so you can bring your four-legged friend along on your adventure. My team and I look forward to welcoming you.”

Flight Club opens third Australian site


Red Engine owned Flight Club has opened the doors to its latest international venue in Sydney, Australia, almost a decade after it launched its first bar in Shoreditch, London.

The new 9,300sqft bar in New South Wales is the brands third site in Australia, where venues are owned and operated by partner NightOwl Entertainment.

It follows the success of Flight Club’s openings in Perth and Fremantle, which opened in 2021 and 2023 respectively.   

The addition of Flight Club Sydney takes the Red Engine and partners' total global estate to 26. 

Red Engine also revealed plans to open Electric Shuffle Manchester in June, with Electric Shuffle sites New York, Flight Club Liverpool and Flight Club Oxford to follow.

With the addition of Flight Club Philadelphia, Washington, and Melbourne, being opened by Red Engine’s international partners, the global Flight Club and Electric Shuffle venue portfolio will increase to 33. 

Earlier this year, Red Engine posted sales of £67m for 2023 and recently secured a £60m bank facility to support its global growth strategy.

CEO and founder Steve Moore said: “We couldn’t be prouder and more excited to introduce Flight Club to Sydney in partnership with NightOwl Entertainment.

“Some 17,000km from London, where this beautiful journey began, we are delighted to share some Flight Club magic with the people of Sydney and look forward to bringing them many moments of unexpected, ridiculous joy.” 

Merlin's horror-themed bar to open in Birmingham 

Merlins Birmingham Main Bar Area

Fantasy and horror themed café, restaurant and cocktail bar Merlin's, founded by horror loving couple Martin Fox and Ella Tuta, is set to open a new venue in Birmingham City Centre.

Due to welcome customers in just under eight weeks time, the launch has been inspired by the likes of Wednesday Addams, Stranger Things, Beetlejuice and other "iconic" horror films and characters. 

The ground floor café and restaurant will serve an array of themed and unique dishes from its own 'Hell's Kitchen', catering to families and individuals alike.

Meanwhile upstairs, the first-floor bar and cocktail lounge will offer a fog filled atmosphere for adults, including "spooky" cocktails, and becoming an over-18s only space after 6pm with live music until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays.

Founder and director Martin Fox said: "Merlin's is more than just a place to eat and drink; it's a spine-tingling experience that will leave you wanting more.

"We wanted to create a venue that transports our guests into a world of fantasy and horror, where every visit is filled with excitement and intrigue. From our unique themed menu offerings to our creatively chilling themed décor, every detail at Merlin's has been carefully crafted to provide a positively horrifying experience."

Arc to open two more sites 


Multi-site operator Arc Inspirations has announced plans to two new venues later this year.

This autumn will see the firm’s Box and Manahatta brands expand with the former opening in Nottingham and the latter in Sheffield.

Read more here​.


M&B reopens trio of historic pubs


Mitchell’s & Butlers (M&B) has reopened three historic London pubs following an “extensive” six-figure renovation project.

The pub’s, which are part of the M&B Castle & Nicholson’s brand, recently welcomed back customers after being remodelled just in time for summer.

First to open was the Bridge House in Little Venice followed by the Swan in Hammersmith, and finally the Lyttelton Arms in Camden.

Read more here​.

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