Beds and Bars set for further growth following cash injection: Pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars, led by chief executive Keith Knowles, is set for further growth following a cash injection. The company has partnered with an unnamed, recently developed real estate investment fund. The principals of this new fund have worked with Beds and Bars for the past ten years. This new large fund will enable Beds and Bars to expand into new territories such as Dublin, Madrid, Vienna and Lisbon as well as allowing it to grow its existing hubs in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. Knowles said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to expand, especially as we have known and trusted the individuals for so long. The future is bright for both entities and we very much look forward to developing our niche concept of Belushi’s and St Christopher’s Inns over the next five years.” Last month, Beds and Bars added Balmers in Interlaken, Switzerland, as a franchise partner of its St Christopher’s Inns hostel network. In January, Beds and Bars reported group turnover increased by 5% year-on-year, rising to £41.9m in the year to the end of March 2016, compared with £39.7m the year before. Group Ebitda on a like-for-like basis increased year-on-year to £4.57m, up 26% on a like-for-like basis compared with the year before.

Marston’s to open bigger lodges – and more of them: Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay has told Propel the company will add to its 1,100-bedroom stock quickly by opening ten lodges in 2018, with sites averaging 60 bedrooms compared with 30 to 40 in the past. As a sign of its increased ambitions in terms of lodge size, the company is opening a site in Ebbsfleet that will offer 100 bedrooms. Lodges are co-located with pub restaurants and generate an additional £3,000 to £5,000 per week in sales. The company expects lodge investment to increase to about £2m per site from the existing £1.5m average investment. The £500,000 additional investment is a comparatively small additional sum because land acquisition costs are broadly similar, Findlay said. Meanwhile, Findlay hailed the acquisition of Charles Wells’ brewing interests as “quite transformational”. He said: “It broadens our focus on to beer rather than just ale – we now have an excellent portfolio of world lager brands.” Findlay said the company still had an appetite to acquire pubs and regional breweries. “I think we’ve looked at most of the deals in the last few years,” he added. Marston’s also reported the company would increase the number of openings within its premium Revere Pub Company division to five a year. The move reflects Marston’s confidence in the “quality and consistency” of the offer being achieved within Revere, Findlay added. Meanwhile, Marston’s has raised £78.9m after completing the placing of 57,600,995 new ordinary shares at 137p each. The shares being issued represent about 9.9% of the issued ordinary share capital. The money will be used to fund Marston’s £55m acquisition of Charles Wells’ brewing and beer business along with seven pubs in strong locations to enhance its Destination and Premium estate for a consideration of £13m.

Harvey’s turnover passes £20m: East Sussex-based brewer and retailer Harvey’s has reported turnover increased to £20,894,930 for the year ending 31 December 2016, compared with £19,868,161 the previous year. Pre-tax profit fell slightly to £2,017,708 compared with £2,066,909 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The company stated: “As predicted, the wholesale market for beer remains skewed for a variety of government-influenced reasons, which will play-out over several years. For Harvey’s, there are two primary factors – the burgeoning host of new micro-brewers establishing in response to beer-duty disparity incentives and the loss of many group-owned accounts as these are sold-off by large pub company landlords in response to recent legislation. Wholesaler volumes have continued to decline but direct delivered free trade increased by 3%, demonstrating resilient loyalty for our beer. Notwithstanding the negative influences, Harvey’s beer trade has held up well throughout 2016, limiting the effect to a modest decline in production volumes. A modern shift in beer styles has also prompted innovation at our firm. Investment in a major rebranding exercise has transformed the imagery of the Harvey’s brand. This has been augmented by a diverse range of new products and packaging, including well-received canned and keg beer styles. Our traditional activities remain of the utmost importance but pubs in particular face manifold pressures, ranging from compliances to soaring business rates. Harvey’s diverse range of public houses contain many that are well placed to adapt to these challenges but also a few that will struggle to remain viable. The move of eight sites to become managed houses is beginning to show signs of success, net of substantial set-up costs. Directly managed sites are now responsible for 27% of total company turnover. All told, (these are) excellent results for difficult and fast-changing times.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen reopens former Wetherspoon pub in Lichfield for 17th site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the brewpub business led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has opened a site in Lichfield, Staffordshire. The city centre venue in Bird Street is on the site of The Gatehouse, which the company acquired from JD Wetherspoon last year. After a major refurbishment, the venue features a micro-brewery on the ground floor alongside an open kitchen, while there is a dining room on the first floor with two private dining areas. There are also alfresco drinking and dining areas at the front and rear of the brewpub. The site will brew five core beers available throughout the year alongside eight seasonally changing variations. The drinks list includes an additional 50 craft beers and ciders, as well as “beertails”. The site also offers masterclasses and a brewery experience day, while the menu by executive chef Tom Bew incorporates beer-based dishes including burgers with homemade IPA-cured pickle. Bunn said: “We are delighted to bring our Brewhouse & Kitchen concept to Lichfield following the success of our opening in nearby Sutton Coldfield.” Brewhouse & Kitchen currently has 17 sites across the UK and is transforming its latest acquisition – the Riverbank Bar & Kitchen in Nottingham – ahead of its reopening in the summer.

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs to open first northern site, in Manchester: London-based coffee brand the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs is to open its first site in the north of England, in Manchester. The company has signed for a 3,000 square foot site at Faulkner House in New York Street, which will be its second venue outside the capital and its largest to date when it opens this summer. Designed by Urban & Country and Waugh Thistleton Architects, the Manchester coffee shop will have its own unique design features in keeping with the brand’s philosophy that no two locations look alike. Work on the site is under way and marks the company’s 16th coffee shop in the UK, with its other regional site in Bristol. In addition to offering single-origin speciality coffee and food, Department of Coffee and Social Affairs is also involved in humanitarian work in the UK and abroad. Chief executive Ashley Lopez said: “The coffee shop is centrally located in the busy worker district of Manchester, making it an ideal spot for us to introduce our brand to locals. We are excited to be part of this growing and thriving city.” Lambert Smith Hampton represented landlords Bruntwood.

Living Ventures to appeal licence refusal for Nottingham Alchemist: Living Ventures is to appeal a decision to refuse the company a licence to bring its Alchemist brand to Nottingham. The company planned to open the venue in Pelham Street on the site of the All Saints clothing store, which would be its first in the East Midlands. However, last month the city council turned down a licensing application because the site is in a saturation zone, which means no new licensed premises can open unless they can prove crime rates in the area would be unaffected. As well as appealing the decision, Living Ventures is also thought to be looking at alternative venues in the city, reports The Business Desk. Living Ventures operates Alchemist sites in Alderley Edge, Birmingham, Leeds (two venues), Liverpool, London, Manchester (two venues), and Newcastle.

3Sixty Restaurants opens 15th Ego site: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, has opened its 15th Ego site. The company has launched Ego @ The Fox Cub in Little Hoole, near Preston, having taken on a former Vintage Inns site, owned by Mitchells & Butlers, in Bridge House Road. Ego, which is a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and bar concept, describes its philosophy as “great food, a relaxed atmosphere and a wonderful dining experience”. It operates sites across the north west, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Hollywood Bowl to launch at London’s O2: Hollywood Bowl Group is to open a bowling centre at The O2 in Greenwich, London, its 57th UK site. The 12-lane alley will open at The O2 in mid-June following the refurbishment of a space previously occupied by Brooklyn Bowl. Hollywood Bowl at The O2 will feature 12 computerised lanes, three of them VIP. It will also feature a Hollywood Diner offering American classics such as gourmet burgers, hotdogs and shakes. There will also be an American pool area, two bars and a range of amusement machines. Hollywood Bowl Group chief executive Steve Burns said: “The O2 is one of the UK’s premier entertainment venues, with more than 200 events a year, so we’re excited to bring a Hollywood Bowl to its eight million annual visitors. Our aim will be to encourage event guests visiting The O2 to join us for a bowl, a drink and a meal before or after their event, and for London residents to visit us with friends and family at other times. With the huge number of commercial outlets and offices located within easy reach of The O2, we’re also looking forward to offering brilliant office nights out and corporate parties with a difference.” Hemel Hempstead-headquartered Hollywood Bowl Group operates 56 centres in the UK under the Hollywood Bowl, AMF Bowling and Bowlplex brands.

Douglas Jack – Marston’s has made ‘sensible acquisitions’, first-half results in line with expectations: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Marston’s has made “sensible acquisitions” and its first-half results are in line with expectations. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 160p, Jack said: “Destination and Premium like-for-like sales are up 1.6% after 30 weeks, continuing its outperformance against the pubs constituent of the Coffer Peach Tracker (+0.7%), with margins in line with last year. Destination and Premium’s comparable softens to 1.8% in the second half, hence our forecasts assume like-for-like sales strengthen to 2.0% over the full year. Taverns’ like-for-like sales are up 1.7% after 30 weeks. With comparables peaking in the second quarter (first quarter 2.7%; second quarter 3.3%; third quarter 2.5%; fourth quarter 2.0%), we forecast like-for-like sales being up 2% over the full year. Leased like-for-like profits are up 2% and brewing volumes are up 2% after 30 weeks. We forecast leased like-for-like profits remaining at 2% over the full year, aided by comparables softening from 2.4% in the first half to 1.6% in the second half. Marston’s is on track to open 20 pub restaurants, three premium pubs and eight lodges over the full year. We expect the company to quadruple its number of rooms to 4,000 over the next six to seven years, thereby providing a material boost to pub average sales and margins. Marston’s is acquiring the Charles Wells brewing business for £55m. Charles Wells generates £90m of sales, £6m of Ebitda, and £5m of Ebit. After £4m of synergies, the acquisition multiple falls from nine times to 5.5 times by 2019E. The acquisition of seven pub restaurants for £13m is expected to generate a 13% return after £2m of investment. We are upgrading our profit before tax forecasts by £2.5m, £9m and £9m respectively for 2017E, 2018E and 2019E. However, after the placing of 56.7 million shares (equivalent to 9.9% of the company’s equity), we forecast these transactions to be earnings neutral in 2018E, resulting in net debt/Ebitda falling by 0.3 times. We now forecast net debt/Ebitda to be 5.2 times in 2019.”

Glendola Leisure to start expansion of gin and steak brand Alston Bar & Beef with Manchester opening: Glendola Leisure, led by Alex Salussolia, is to start expansion of its gin and steak brand Alston Bar & Beef by opening a second site, this time in Manchester. Glendola, which launched the concept in Glasgow in 2015, will open a venue in Manchester’s Corn Exchange offering 120 brands of gin and 35 steaks. Other dishes include braised beef cheek and the Alston burger. A date for the launch has yet to be announced. General manager Riki Bennet told the Manchester Evening News: “Our bar and restaurant in Glasgow has been a real success and now we have the opportunity to grow our business south of the border, which is particularly exciting. The Corn Exchange is home to some fantastic operations and we will only enhance that by building a quality steak and gin offering in a unique environment everyone can enjoy.” Alston Bar & Beef will join other restaurant brands such as Gino D’Acampo – My Restaurant, Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho, Wahaca and Nisha Katona’s Indian street food brand Mowgli at the food and drink destination. Glendola Leisure’s portfolio also includes Irish brand Waxy O Connor’s and The Rainforest Cafe.

Beannchor Group to open two Little Wing pizza restaurants as part of expansion plans: Northern Ireland hospitality company Beannchor Group is to open two Little Wing Pizzeria restaurants. The company is investing £500,000 in the branches in Lisburn and Newtownards, creating 40 jobs, bringing the total Little Wing Pizzeria estate in the country to eight. The Lisburn restaurant, based in Lisburn Square, will cater for 60 guests when it opens this summer, while the Newtownards outlet will welcome customers later in the year. Further sites are currently being explored in other parts of Northern Ireland, with the aim to add additional Little Wing Pizzerias in the next 12 months. Options for expansion are also under consideration in the Republic of Ireland. Little Wing Pizzeria managing director Luke Wolsey told the Irish News: “We are excited to announce this latest investment, which we hope will be the first of several new openings over the next 12 months. Building on the success of our growing network of restaurants across Northern Ireland, the new Little Wing Pizzerias in Lisburn and Newtownards will help the brand to spread its wings further as we seek more opportunities to expand the business in the coming years.”

Fourpure Brewing Co to invest £2m expanding London base to increase production capacity by 400%: Bermondsey-based craft brewer Fourpure Brewing Co is to invest £2m in expanding its London base, which will see its production capacity increase by 400% to 14 million pints a year. Founded in 2013, the brewery has invested heavily to become a state-of-the-art brewing, packaging and distribution business that has now expanded into a fifth warehouse on Bermondsey Trading Estate, covering 25,000 square feet in total. Having spent £1.4m last year to install a canning and packing line, the brewery will invest £2m in a four-vessel Craft-Star brewing system, the first of its kind in the UK, as well as an upgraded centrifuge, a carbonation module, some indoor and outdoor chillers, malt and spent grain silos, and a dozen 200HL fermentation tanks. The equipment will be installed during the summer and start producing beer by September. The brewery will also expand its hospitality space, providing a modern tap room where customers can try an ever-changing range of beers from 16 taps. Fourpure co-founder Dan Lowe said: “London is our heartland and is integral to our brand so we are determined to grow into the city we love rather than move out of it. This latest investment will allow us to quadruple our production and stay true to our brand heritage.”

GC Mallen reopens former Greene King pub in Tunbridge Wells with Savoy-trained chef as manager: Multi-site pub operator GC Mallen, headed by Garry Mallen, has reopened The Guinea Butt pub in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, which the company acquired from brewer and retailer Greene King in February. The pub in Calverley Road, GC Mallen’s 13th site, has been renamed The Guinea and is being managed by Savoy-trained chef Darren Somerton and his partner Dania Cianciulli. Somerton told Kent Live: “We are a pub that serves good food. There is a bookable section but there are also tables and chairs on another side. If people just want to sit and drink that is fine of if they grab a table and want to eat there, that’s great. There is quality in everything we do.” Like many of the pubs the company has turned around, The Guinea Butt had a poor reputation. Mallen’s midas touch is apparent in his sale of the Lord Northbrook, which was branded the “worst pub in south east London” by a local newspaper in 2011. One year later, the same paper named it the “best pub in south London”. Mallen said: “I’ve always liked Tunbridge Wells. I like its independence, the wide range of people in the town and the wide range of food and drink options.”

French deli Epicerie Ludo to start expansion with second Manchester site: French delicatessen Epicerie Ludo is to start expansion by opening a second site in Manchester. Ludovic Piot and Darren Williams, who launched the concept in Chorlton in 2011, have secured a £68,000 loan from HSBC to support the expansion. They will open a 1,000 square foot site in Beech Road, forecasting a 40% rise in turnover across the whole business. Both sites will include a cafe. Piot told the Manchester Evening News: “Our decision to open a second site is based on continued growth since our launch in 2011, coupled with increased customer demand for greater delicatessen choices, fresh coffee and seating space, in addition to our fine wine and exclusive groceries lines.” Sam Roden, HSBC area director for Greater Manchester, added: “Ludovic and Darren understand exactly what their customers are hungry for and, with HSBC’s support, they will now be able to meet this demand. We are delighted to be able to help this local business prosper and look forward to watching it as it continues to grow over the coming months and years.”

Former Sat Bains protégé to launch debut restaurant, in Nottingham: Alex Bond, who worked for more than three years at two Michelin-starred restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham, will launch his debut restaurant in the city this summer. Renovations are under way at a 100-year-old former coach house in Derby Road to create a 40-cover restaurant with a further ten seated at a chef’s table. Contractors have carved into sandstone at the rear of building giving scope to add further elements such as an upstairs drinks terrace. The restaurant will be named Alchemilla and offer a modern British menu with a focus on vegetarian dishes. Bond told Insider Media: “I know modern British is a cliche but that is what Alchemilla is all about. I don’t believe we should eat as much meat as we do so I have developed a plant-based style of cooking – vegetables can be just as good as any piece of meat. I’d like to show the depth of flavour you can achieve when you allow vegetables to take centre stage.” Earlier this month, Sat Bains made its debut in a list of the world’s top 100 restaurants as voted for by readers of luxury lifestyle publication Elite Traveler.

Dalata strikes deals worth €70m: Ireland’s largest hotel operator Dalata has struck deals worth almost €70m (£60.2m) concerning three Irish hotels and a food court. The company has entered into an agreement with Kieran Wallace as receiver to acquire the freehold interest of certain elements of the Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane and the Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley, both in Dublin, for a consideration of €62.5m (£53.7m). The Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane is a four-star, 304-bedroom venue in the South Docks area. Dalata has agreed to acquire the freehold of the ground and lower-ground floors, which contain the reception, bar, restaurant, leisure centre, back-of-house facilities, 170 bedrooms and a vacant ground-floor area. The deal will bring the total number of bedrooms owned by the company at the site to 193. The Clarion Hotel Liffey Valley is a four-star, 353-bedroom hotel located to the west of Dublin. Dalata has agreed to acquire the freehold of the core hotel – comprising 159 bedrooms, a leisure centre, meeting rooms, reception, bar and restaurant, car park and two vacant retail units. The remaining 194 rooms are owned by individual investors. Meanwhile, Dalata has also entered into an agreement with receivers Declan McDonald and Ken Tyrrell, of PwC, to acquire the freehold interest of the Maldron Hotel Portlaoise and adjoining Midway food court for €6.8m (£5.9m). It has also agreed a simultaneous sub-sale of the food court to a third party. Dalata has also confirmed it is in exclusive negotiations to sell and lease back one of its Clayton hotels in the UK.

Dorset-based Petite Hotels acquires Lulworth Cove lodge for third site: Dorset-based Petite Hotels, led by Edward Wilkes, has acquired boutique hotel Lulworth Lodge on the county’s heritage coast for its third site following a deal brokered by agent Colliers International. A short stroll from Lulworth Cove in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the 12-bedroom hotel was on the market at £150,000 for the ten-year free-of-tie lease. Petite Hotels’ other venues are the Limestone Hotel and Lyme Town House, both in Lyme Regis, and Wilkes said he aimed to deliver an “affordable beach-side hotel and bistro” in keeping with the other properties in his portfolio. Ed Jefferson, of the south west hotels team at Colliers International, added: “Lulworth Lodge is a well-known business in the area and there was huge interest in the property. With strong accommodation, good prospects for extending the food and beverage side of the business, and a fabulous location, we believe Edward Wilkes and his team have identified a fantastic niche business opportunity to attract smart staycationers from all over the country.”

Micro-pub entrepreneur lines up third site: Micro-pub entrepreneur Phil Ayling, whose company is called BeerHeadZ, has lined up his third site. He has applied to convert the old cabman’s shelter at Nottingham railway station, with hopes of opening the venue towards the beginning of July. Ayling will allow 36 customers into the micro-pub at any one time. “It’s a wonderful venue for a couple of pints on the way home from the station or a pint before getting on the train,” the former draftsman said. Ayling has branches of BeerHeadz in Retford and Grantham (both of which have won Campaign for Real Ale Pub Of The Year awards), and also runs Just Beer in Newark.

Welsh independent breweries to showcase at King’s Cross festival: A craft ale and beer festival showcasing some of Wales’ best independent breweries is taking place at King’s Cross in London during this month’s bank holiday weekend. Courtyard, which is being staged by Welsh music festival organiser Green Man in partnership with developer Argent, is being held from 25 to 29 May at Lewis Cubitt Square. As well as more than 140 Welsh beers, ales and ciders, the event will feature workshops, live music and Welsh street food. Breweries taking part in the event include Hallets Cider, Bang On Brewery, Untaped Brewing Co, Bluestone Brewing Co, Boss, Brecon Beacon Cider, Tiny Rebel and Tudor Brewery.