JD Wetherspoon applies to open 29 hotel bedrooms above Aberdeen pub: JD Wetherspoon has applied to turn space above its pub in a historic city centre building in Aberdeen into a hotel. The company wants to turn the first and second floors of the Archibald Simpson into hotel rooms. Named after a renowned Aberdonian architect, the Archibald Simpson is on the site of one of his buildings, the former North Of Scotland Bank head office, which was built in 1844. Wetherspoon has lodged its application with Aberdeen City Council and the proposal is now subject to public consultation, with neighbours of the pub being notified of the application – including Police Scotland and the council, which has offices nearby. It is one of three Wetherspoon pubs in Aberdeen, the others being Justice Mill and The Granite City at Aberdeen International Airport. The first and second floors of the Archibald Simpson, currently used as office space, and a two-storey building at the rear of the site will be converted into 29 hotel rooms if the application is granted. Included in the redevelopment plans are 21 double rooms, three family rooms, two twin rooms, two single rooms and a disabled access room. Wetherspoon also proposes to turn an unused backyard into a 1,440 square foot beer garden.
Camerons Brewery appoints new team to oversee expansion plans: Camerons Brewery has appointed a new team to oversee its plans to add six pubs a year to its portfolio. Since 2013, the Hartlepool-headquartered company has expanded its managed pub operation from four venues to 23 with the acquisition of the Head of Steam and Leeds Brewery groups. To continue its rapid growth plans, Camerons has recruited Jim Bentley as retail managed house director and Mick Hill as property manager, with the pair tasked with expanding the brewer’s pub estate across the UK. Matthew Stancliffe, previously a tenanted estates manager at Camerons, now heads the leased and tenanted operation, while Grant Dexter and David Scott will continue in their roles as operations managers for the managed group. Camerons Brewery director and general manager Chris Soley told Insider Media: “As a board we have set out an ambitious strategy to grow our retail estate and own-brand sales. As part of this, it is crucial we have an experienced team in place and in Jim and Mick we have brought in two people who can deliver our vision to grow a successful pub estate across the UK. These appointments clearly indicate our intention to grow our retail estate and develop our business even further. We are in the process of developing our own-brand sales strategy and actively recruiting for this side of our business.” Earlier this month, Camerons confirmed work would begin in August on an 11th Head of Steam site, in Liverpool, ahead of a September opening.
Online beer subscription service BeerBods passes 75% mark on £250,000 crowdfunding campaign: Online beer subscription service BeerBods has passed the 75% mark of its £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company is offering 10% equity and has so far raised £206,130 from 335 investors with 23 days remaining. The largest investment so far is £10,000. The company, launched by Matt Lane in 2012, previously raised £150,000 on Crowdcube in 2014. It is seeking further investment in a bid to become the “leading independent online retailer of beer in the UK”. Shares will be issued from holding company Drink Beta, of which BeerBods is a wholly owned subsidiary. The bid states: “We believe BeerBods was the UK’s first beer subscription service. We have one simple aim – to get more people drinking better beer. After being named ‘one of the 100 most innovative small businesses in the UK’ by Smarta and O2 in 2014, we raised some seed investment and broke crowdfunding records in the process, raising £150,000 in 36 hours on Crowdcube. Nearly all the money came from our amazing customers. Since then we’ve grown our subscriber numbers almost four-fold, our revenue five-fold, and our team six-fold. Today we have almost 4,000 active subscribers and another 14,000 members who buy mixed cases or gifts from us on a less frequent basis. Since launching we’ve sold more than £1.4m of beer (gross merchandising value). We think we’ve laid the foundations to become one of the leading independent online retailers of bottled beer in the UK. Now we want to grow our impact by bringing a tech team in-house, develop ideas for new products, and invest in an ambitious marketing strategy.”
TV’s Medicinal Chef launches healthy takeaway concept Sano To Go in Holborn: Television nutrition expert Dale Pinnock, also known as The Medicinal Chef, has launched healthy takeaway concept Sano To Go in Holborn, central London. Pinnock founded Sano with Doug and Heather Richards and they have also launched online nutrition business the Sano School of Culinary Medicine. Their new concept has opened at the former Dindin Kitchen site in Grays Inn Road offering healthy breakfast and lunch options to take away and featuring big flavours from the Middle East and Asia. Meals include ginger and five-spice chicken, za’atar-spiced lamb meatballs, and aubergine and butternut squash tagine, alongside salads, raw chocolate brownies and millionaire’s shortbread with coconut flour and almond butter. Sano To Go also offers takeaway breakfast pots. Its website states: “Every dish has been created by our nutritional experts and is based on nutritional science to specifically support health and enable you to eat a balanced healthy meal without reading labels or worrying about ingredients.” Sano Restaurants is led by Richard Baker, former chief executive of Benito’s Hat. He stepped down from the Mexican restaurant brand in February last year. Sano To Go is open from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.
Signature Living to open Dixie Dean hotel as part of plans to create world’s first ‘football quarter’: Signature Living, the company behind the Shankly Hotel, which is named after Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, is set to please Everton fans in the city by launching a hotel commemorating the football club’s legendary striker Dixie Dean. The four-star hotel will open in Liverpool city centre next summer as part of plans to create the world’s first “football quarter”. Work will start in September to turn the gothic Jerome and Carlisle buildings into a 100-bedroom hotel. The Dixie Dean will be opposite the Shankly Hotel in Victoria Street, allowing football fans to choose a hotel devoted to a Liverpool or Everton legend. The 65,000 square foot hotel will offer restaurants, bars and an events space. Like the Shankly, Dixie Dean Hotel will showcase memorabilia from the centre forward’s career. Dean scored 349 goals in 399 matches for Everton. His granddaughter Melanie Prentice told the Wirral Globe: “Dixie was great friends with Bill Shankly. They had an enduring friendship despite representing rival teams, so it’s good to see them commemorated so close together.” Signature Living founder Lawrence Kenwright added: “We expect our ‘football quarter’ to create hundreds of jobs, attract further investment into Liverpool and boost this brilliant city’s tourism offer.” Last month, George Best’s family gave their seal of approval to Signature Living’s plans to open a Belfast hotel named after the late Manchester United and Northern Ireland football star.
Darwin & Wallace opens pub at Battersea Power Station development, fifth site: Bar group Darwin & Wallace, which is backed by Imbiba, has opened No 29 Power Station West – the only pub among independent traders in the Battersea Power Station’s Circus West Village. The venue offers an all-day drinking and dining experience, with a food menu featuring locally sourced ingredients and dishes. No 29 Power Station West features more than 100 pieces of hand-picked and crafted furniture, while tiles and artwork fill the bar space including a bespoke Crittall shop front and handcrafted Bert & May tiles in the downstairs River Bar. The venue offers more than 30 wines, 20 craft beers, homemade soft drinks and seasonal long and short serves. Darwin & Wallace managing director Mel Marriott said: “We feel privileged and excited to open our fifth pub in one of London’s most iconic locations. Together with our one-of-a-kind collaborators, we have built a place of integrity with a sense of home. With references to its industrial past and its iconic location and views over the river and arches, No 29 Power Station West is the perfect backdrop.”
Adventure Bar opens Waterloo rooftop cocktail bar for sixth London site: Adventure Bar, the London cocktail group led by Tom Kidd, has opened its sixth site in the capital, a rooftop bar in Waterloo. The 350-capacity Bar Elba is the company’s largest venue and has opened on the rooftop of Mercury House in Waterloo Road, opposite the train station. The new venue continues Adventure Bar’s Napoleon theme, opening only five weeks after it launched Tonight Josephine in the basement of the same building. Bar Elba is the company’s first cocktail bar with a no-music policy, while Dip & Flip, led by Tim Lees, is running the food offering with burgers and its trademark gravy dip. The two openings mean Adventure Bar staff numbers have increased 40% in the past two months, while it expects turnover to rise 60% and Ebitda 40% in the next 18 months. Operations director Tobias Jackson said: “These back-to-back openings have caused all manner of challenges for a small, privately-run business but the reaction to Tonight Josephine has been phenomenal.” Financial director Thomas Kidd added: “The projects overlapped and we’ve never had so many workers on site at once but with summer counting down, we knew we had to get Bar Elba open as early as logistically possible.” Adventure Bar also operates eponymous venues in Covent Garden, Clapham Junction and Clapham High Street, and The Escapologist in Seven Dials.
Veeno to launch Stratford-upon-Avon site next month: Italian Wine Cafe Veeno will open a site at the £30m Bell Court complex in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, next month. The venue will open on Thursday, 17 August on the ground floor of the development, beneath the new Everyman Cinema. It will be the company’s 12th venue and first in the West Midlands. Veeno will be joined by Nando’s, which will open its venue on 23 August, as well as better burger brand Byron, Mitchells & Butlers brands Miller & Carter and All Bar One, and Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian. Veeno is led by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino, who said: “We’re looking forward to expanding Veeno into the West Midlands and bringing a taste of Italian culture to Stratford-upon-Avon. Bell Court is the perfect market for us and represents a great opportunity to build our brand alongside national bar and restaurant operators.”
Lake District-based operator opens Cumbria’s first music lounge bar following £3m investment: Lake District-based operator Stephen Hargreaves has launched Cumbria’s first music lounge bar, in Bowness-on-Windermere, following a £3m investment. Baha has opened in Ash Street and is set over three floors, with a lounge bar on the ground floor providing live music, sharing dishes and city-style brunch alongside gin, vodka, rum and craft beer. The first floor, which will open in mid-September, will feature a “tasting house” offering international themed dishes and an extensive wine list. The top floor will open in late 2017 and feature an exclusive space for private hire with the latest sound and light technology and a cocktail bar with its own mixologists. Hargreaves said: “I am really excited to launch Baha, which has been almost two years in the making to ensure it’s absolutely perfect. Baha will be on-trend, unique and exciting and I’m delighted to be able to bring that to the Lake District.” Hargreaves also operates boutique hotels The Cranleigh, The Hideout and The Church Suites plus champagne bar The Fizzy Tarté, all in Bowness-on-Windermere. His next project in the town will be luxury boutique villa Vonvivant.
Nottingham bar owners turn from pizza to healthy fast food for new city centre concept: Antonio Vendone and James Alexander Irons, who operate Suede bar in Hockley renowned for its Death by Pizza food menu, are to launch healthy quick-service restaurant concept The Clean Cut Kitchen in Nottingham city centre next month. Work is under way to transform a former oriental supermarket in Derby Road into a 40-seater restaurant offering lean protein, low carb food with no preservatives or additives. The menu will include sweet potato waffle burgers and Krispy Clean doughnuts that contain oats, wholemeal flour, honey, and almond milk. The Clean Cut Kitchen will also offer build-your-own protein boxes to take away and healthy ready meals that can be warmed or eaten cold. Alexander Irons told the Nottingham Post: “There is nowhere that serves healthy fast food in Nottingham. Eighteen months ago we came up with the concept and have brought a nutritionist and chefs on board to help us develop it. We’re confident people are going to love what we’ve done.”
Manchester-based multi-site operator launches city’s first sherry bar: Justin Parkinson, who owns a number of boutique bars in the north west, including Folk in West Didsbury, has launched Manchester’s first sherry bar. Flok has opened over two floors in a former bank in the Northern Quarter’s Stevenson Square. The venue offers Spanish vermouth on draught and a large range of fortified wines by the glass or bottle. Flok also serves a selection of natural, biodynamic and organic wines by the glass alongside a range of small plates and sharers featuring artisan produce from Spain and beyond. The bank’s original vaults have been decorated with gold leaf, while a separate basement area acts as an overflow for customers. Parkinson told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s pitched at older people. There must be plenty of people who live in town, yet what’s on their doorstep tends to be a bit mainstream, a bit cool or aimed at cool kids. I wanted somewhere these people could make their local.”
Lincoln-based Stokes Tea & Coffee opens third cafe, at new £2m roastery and HQ: Lincoln-based cafe operator Stokes Tea & Coffee has opened its third cafe, within its new headquarters and roastery. The company has marked its 115th anniversary by transforming grade II-listed The Lawns to enable it to increase production. As well as the 60-seater cafe, the building will also feature a restaurant, barista training centre and offices. The Lawns is a former psychiatric hospital in Steep Hill next to Lincoln Castle and had been empty for almost a decade. In the next few weeks, the company will open a viewing gallery off the cafe for people to watch roasting and production processes, while a barista training centre will launch in September. Management also hopes to open a high-end restaurant in the building by the end of the year. Stokes managing director Nick Peel said: “The new cafe is a further example of our commitment and historic links to Lincoln. Relocation of the roastery to the site will enable larger-scale production, not only for our own shops but also other independents around the country that stock and serve Stokes’ coffee and tea. It is the start of an exciting future for the company.” Family-run Stokes Tea & Coffee was founded by Peel’s great-grandfather Robert Stokes in 1902 and offers a wide range of ethically sourced artisan tea and coffee.
Burge Halston opens second Carlisle city centre aparthotel: Burge Halston, which operates The Halston Aparthotel in Carlisle, has expanded its offer by opening a second venture in the city centre. The company has converted the upper levels of a former Lloyds Pharmacy into six serviced townhouses. Burge Halston plans to extend its footprint in the city further by opening a venue on the site of Belted, which closed in June. Burge Halston owns the building in Warwick Road that formerly housed the gourmet burger restaurant. Burge Halston director Dominique Harrison told BDaily: “The townhouses are a continuation of the quality guests have come to expect from The Halston as well as an opportunity for more businesses and visitors coming to Carlisle to enjoy a luxury experience. Each townhouse has been individually furnished to ensure comfort for guests staying a night, a week or a month.” The Halston opened in 2014 and offers 16 apartments, including penthouses, a spa and its own bistro, Barton’s Yard.
Liverpool-based cocktails and mini-golf concept Ghetto Golf to start expansion with Birmingham site: Liverpool-based cocktails and mini-golf concept Ghetto Golf is to start expansion by opening a second site, in Birmingham city centre. Ghetto Golf is set to open at independent shopping complex The Custard Factory in October, offering crazy golf, cocktails, street food and DJs. The Liverpool site is decorated in dayglo colours and bright murals, with 18 holes featuring effigies of Donald Trump, Pac Man and an old caravan, the Birmingham Mail reports. There is also a macabre sense of humour at work, with one of the holes themed around books on serial killers, while the bar offering cocktails and street food is located at the end of the course, rather like a clubhouse. TripAdvisor rates the attraction as one of the best “fun and games” things to do in Liverpool.
Glasgow-based Italian restaurant to open second site in city: Glasgow-based Italian restaurant La Lanterna is to open its second site. The city’s oldest family-run Italian restaurant opened in 1970 in Hope Street. Now its owners will bring a second restaurant to the city by launching a site in the West End next month. It is opening in Great Western Road on the site of the former La Parmigiana Italian restaurant. La Lanterna posted on its Facebook page: “La Lanterna West is coming! We are delighted to announce we will be opening a second restaurant this August and are bringing La Lanterna to Glasgow’s West End.”
Nottingham-based multi-site operator to launch Urban Kitchen concept: Jasmin Barlow-Wilkinson, who operates two restaurants in Nottingham under her Homemade brand, is to launch sharing plates concept Urban Kitchen in the city’s Hockley area. Barlow-Wilkinson is partnering with businessman Kevin Wright and his daughter Naomi to open a site at a derelict building in Goose Gate in the autumn. Urban Kitchen will offer an international menu with an accent on sharing. Barlow-Wilkinson told the Nottingham Post: “We are working hard on the menu, which will be influenced by our international travels. The focus is on delivering an exciting food-sharing experience, full of familiar ingredients that are healthy yet appetising.” Kevin Wright added: “We are thrilled to have secured the building as it has amazing potential. The sense of space hits you as soon as you walk in, with the wow-factor of 4.6-metre ceilings, exposed brick walls and original flooring. We intend to add standout features such as an open kitchen to keep it casual for daytime but also create atmosphere in the evening. However, the most significant aspect is the incredible amount of natural light, which we plan to maximise in our refurbishment.”
Kendal-based pub operator takes on second Punch site: Tony Greenwood, who took over the Olde Fleece Inn in Kendal, Cumbria, in February has taken on a second Punch site in the town. Greenwood has introduced a new menu at The New Inn and added a pool table and jukebox. He told The Westmorland Gazette: “I don’t think it’s going to be as big a battle as we had at the Fleece. We’ve made our mark now and look forward to doing the same here. We opened the Olde Fleece Inn on a Friday night and took £79. Now, typically, we take £2,500. The Fleece is going from strength to strength; the growth has been overwhelming. On Fridays and Saturdays it can be four or five deep at the bar.”
Manchester bar owners to launch gourmet kebab restaurant and basement dive bar concepts: Dan Pollard and Kevin Connor, who operate Mad Men-inspired bar The Pen And Pencil in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, are to open a gourmet kebab restaurant with a Berlin-style basement dive bar beneath. The 55-cover Bab restaurant will open in Little Lever Street offering dishes such as lamb adana with feta and pistachio labneh, and herb-marinated hanger steak with cumin cauliflower puree and molasses chilli sauce. Pollard told the Manchester Evening News: “Everyone has eaten a kebab, often on the way home from boozy nights out. These, though, will be special – fresh, vibrant and full of flavour. There won’t be a greasy döner in sight. Our chefs have spent the past six months creating the menu. We’re going make our own bread, our own paneer and have some amazing cuts of meat and fish with home-made marinades and sides.” Honey Trap Club will open below Bab offering whisky shots and “dirty cocktails” alongside a jukebox and pool table. Both venues are scheduled to open in November.
Manchester-based bar operators to open restaurant in city’s Gay Village: Lisa Kettle and Danielle Condron, who operate The Bridge Pub And Dining in Sale, are set to open a second site, this time in Manchester’s Gay Village. No 1 Canal Street will open next month in the street of the same name at former pub the Bandit, Mugger & Thief. The 60-cover venue will offer modern British food with an Asian twist, including fresh seafood, dry-aged steaks, and curries. Kettle told the Manchester Evening News: “We had a massive refit at The Bridge in January and, off the back of that, we’re flying. We’ve got a really big gay following at The Bridge and people told us they need somewhere decent to eat in Canal Street. It’s going to be relaxed dining moving into a bit more energy in the evening. Soft furnishings, bright, airy – a female feel to it compared with what’s been in Canal Street before. It’s a restaurant with a small bar but we’ve got outside seating too.”
Wokingham-based cocktail bar owner to open wine bar for second site: James Harris, who operates The Redan cocktail bar in Wokingham, is to open a wine bar for his second site in the Berkshire town. Harris, who has formerly worked for North Bar and Diageo, will transform The Metropolitan pub into Bar FiftySix, offering 56 wines and beverages alongside food and a small selection of beer. Harris told the Bracknell News: “The decision to make it into a wine bar was to give Wokingham the offering it doesn’t have. It’s going to be all table service, tapas food, meat, cheese, high-end wines and spirits, and a beer offering.”
Wadworth partners Conviviality to drive business growth: Wadworth, the Wiltshire-based pub operator and family brewer, has partnered with Conviviality, the UK’s leading independent distributor of alcohol and impulse products, to drive market penetration for Wadworth’s beer range and revamp its wine and spirit offering across its pub estate. This two-pronged partnership will see Conviviality’s Matthew Clark business assume responsibility for Wadworth’s free-trade business, with the aim of building market penetration for Wadworth’s 6X cask ale beer brand in the south west and across the country, transforming the brand from a regional to a national player. The partnership also extends into Wadworth’s pub estate, where Conviviality’s Bibendum business will become the sole wine and spirits supplier to Wadworth. This will see a transformation of Wadworth’s wine and spirits offer, including more premium ranges to improve the customer offer in its pubs. The partnership will also provide Bibendum’s added-value service of training and marketing support across the estate. Wadworth chief executive Chris Welham said: “This partnership will ensure we have a robust long-term route to market for all our cask beer brands in the free trade sector while also benefiting from providing our pubs with a quality range of wine and spirits. By partnering with Conviviality, we’re able to access new routes to market. As well as expertise in the national drinks network, Conviviality also brings regional and local expertise. Matthew Clark has a long history operating since 1810 with a connection to the Bristol area, and it’s great to partner with a business that shares our values and aspirations.”
Ludlow-based ‘revivalist’ pub operator Son of Saxon submits plans for second site: Ludlow-based pub operator Son of Saxon has submitted plans to convert an empty shop in High Street into its second site in the Shropshire town. The company, led by Jon Saxon, opened quirky “parlour pub” 14 Corve Street in the town at the end of 2015 after Saxon converted part of his own townhouse. Now he hopes to transform a former charity shop into a pub replicating a multi-room Victorian pub, the Shropshire Star reports. Three rooms would be created on the ground ﬂoor, with an entrance from High Street leading to a public bar and small parlour, while the back door in Market Street would lead to another parlour bar. Customers in the public bar and front parlour would be offered counter service, while the back parlour would be served through a hatch