MeatLiquor to convert chicken-focused Brixton restaurant into main brand: MeatLiquor has started to convert its chicken-focused site in Brixton into its main brand. ChickenLiquor, which is located in Brixton Market, will reopen on Thursday, 23 November following a refurbishment to convert it into a MeatLiquor venue offering the brand’s full menu. MeatLiquor co-founder and managing director Scott Collins said: “We are constantly updating our venues and offering to make sure they never get tired – now it’s ChickenLiquor’s turn. With art created by I Love Dust and shiny new grills, the venue will be given a loving facelift. Once reopened, the venue will be a fully functioning MeatLiquor.” Collins founded MeatLiquor with Yianni Papoutsis in 2011, initially operating from a burger van. It opened its first permanent site shortly after and there are now 14 sites across the UK, including two Deliveroo-only venues, in Canary Wharf and Battersea.

Pergola team reopens west London pub as 800-capacity venue with bar, ‘woodland garden’ and four restaurants: Incipio Group, the company behind street food pop-up Pergola, has launched an 800-capacity venture in West Brompton, west London, which features two bars, four restaurants and a “woodland garden”. The Prince, formerly Victorian pub The Prince of Wales, has been restored to feature low-hanging brass lights, marble table tops and oak flooring. Incipio Group has also refurbished three adjacent buildings, handing them over to four independent London eateries – better burger brand Patty & Bun, Vietnamese restaurant MAM, Thai concept The Begging Bowl, and Rabbit, a celebration of British wild food by the Gladwin brothers. The buildings’ gardens have been rebuilt into a heated and enclosed “woodland garden” featuring a trademark pergola. Elements of The Prince are linked by walkways. Incipio Group will launch Feast Bar & Kitchen, a food and drinks complex in White City, on Wednesday, 29 November after transforming the BBC’s former headquarters into a 5,000 square foot, 300-capacity restaurant hub with alfresco seating and a rotating line-up of street food vendors. The company is also behind street food festival Little Feast in Shepherd’s Bush and Feast Canteen food court, which will open at Hammersmith’s King’s Mall shopping centre next year. Pergola was a renowned rooftop venture at the former BBC Television Centre.

Private club for wine-lovers 67 Pall Mall opens new floor to double capacity and reopen membership: 67 Pall Mall, the world’s first private members’ club for wine-lovers, has opened a new floor at the Sir Edwin Lutyens building in St James’s to double its capacity. The move will allow the club to accept new “full” members for the first time since membership was closed in May 2015, seven months before opening, due to demand. The new Club Room features a bar that has expanded the offering of wine by the glass to 800, all delivered through the use of the Coravin wine access system. The space also offers a new sharing menu created by head chef Marcus Verberne. The club, which offers more than 4,000 wines curated by master sommelier Ronan Sayburn, also features a wine cellar, members’ lounge, wine library and spirit bar the Naughty Corner.

Sunderland-based pub company Pub Culture opens fourth site in the north east: Sunderland-based pub company Pub Culture has opened its third site in the city and fourth in the north east, creating 30 jobs. The Engine Room has opened at a former fire station that has been derelict for more than 20 years but is being turned into Sunderland’s new culture hub. The ground-floor bar and bistro forms part of The Fire Station, with dance studios, rehearsal space and a heritage centre opening later this month. The Engine Room specialises in craft and cask ale, and pub food such as homemade pizza. Drinks include lager and cider on draught and ten hand-pulled locally brewed ales on rotation. The kitchen will also act as a chef’s academy overseen by Pub Culture principal chef Kieran Burke. Operations director Joe Smith told the Sunderland Echo: “We have kept as many of the original features as we could and there are a lot of quirky features. I’ve worked in the pub trade for 44 years and have overseen about 200 refurbs and I have to say this is the best. The bar is in the old engine room where the fire engines would once have parked and, before that, the horse and carts.” Pub Culture operates two sites under its brand The Dun Cow – in Sunderland and Jesmond – and The Peacock, also in Sunderland.

Liverpool-based bar operator to turn building society into real ale pub: Tony Burns, who operates the newly refurbished Rox Your World bar in Liverpool, is transforming a former building society branch in the city centre into a real ale pub. Burns will reopen the former Furness Building Society site in Castle Street as the Sanctuary Tap before Christmas. Alongside regular beers, the pub will also offer guest ales on rotation alongside pies and several types of mash, including mustard mash and root mash. Burns told the Liverpool Echo: “There’s a real buzz around real ale at the minute and we want to bring it to Liverpool. We’re working hard to get the right beers. We’ll offer three types of beer in a ‘pony’ glass on a paddle so people can try lots of different kinds of ale. We want to create a real old-school pub environment and will also offer whiskey, gin and cheeseboards.” The pub’s name is inspired by the sanctuary stone in Castle Street, one of the few surviving monuments from the city’s medieval past.

Michelin-starred restaurant run by Michel Roux-trained chef goes on market: Michelin-starred restaurant The Checkers, in the Welsh border town of Montgomery, has been put up for sale for £575,000. Run by Michel Roux-trained chef Stéphane Borie, his partner Sarah and her sister Kathryn, the grade II-listed building is being marketed by Colliers International. The fully refurbished premises includes five letting rooms on the first floor – with planning consent for another – that have contributed to net annual sales of £498,000. The main restaurant area at The Checkers, which has held a Michelin star since 2011, is split into two rooms, providing 32 covers in total. There are several exposed beams and a large log burner. The restaurant leads into the bar, which has space for 12 guests and features French windows opening on to the patio. Ed Jefferson, of the hotels team at Colliers International, said: “Overlooking the market place, The Checkers is an eye-catching building that underwent a complete refurbishment in 2011. Our clients acquired the property as a run-down pub and have totally refurbished the fabric of the building.”

Starbucks appoints Iris as creative agency across EMEA region: Starbucks has appointed Iris as creative agency across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) after a competitive pitch. Iris has been appointed to work across 41 markets after a process run through Creativebrief. The appointment does not affect the brand’s global ad agency, 72andSunny. Starbucks called a review during the summer for its first specialist ad agency to work across the EMEA region. At the time, the company said it wanted an agency to help it “celebrate how Starbucks’ coffee leadership comes to life across a diverse region”. Maria Sebastian, senior vice-president, brand for Starbucks EMEA, told Campaign Live: “Iris is a best-in-class creative agency that demonstrated during this process the opportunity we have to celebrate our coffee leadership, community values, and tell our brand story across such a fantastically diverse region.” Starbucks also works with Oliver, which provides an in-house unit that manages in-store and point-of-sale activity.

Drake & Morgan launches The Listing in City of London for 23rd site: Drake & Morgan has launched The Listing in the City of London for its 23rd site. The bar and restaurant is at the new Cannon Green building in Bush Lane and offers cocktails and all-day dining. The Listing features a sleek bar space with marble-topped tables and mirrors offering bespoke cocktails, hot toddies, wine, champagne, spirits and craft beer. The menu includes breakfast, dinner, flatbread, superfood salads and sharing boards, with the venue open from 7.30am until midnight, Monday to Friday. The decor features curved booths and a terrace with views over Suffolk Lane. Earlier this month, Ron Pearson, partner at Bowmark Capital, which backs Drake & Morgan, told the Propel Multi Club Conference: “We’ve put a lot of units into the City and we’re continuing to open there. The opportunity is there and ultimately it comes down to the fact the best operations will win through.” Drake & Morgan will also open a venue in St Peter’s Square, Manchester, before the end of the year.

Greggs apologises for replacing Jesus with sausage roll for advent calendar photo campaign: UK food-on-the-go retailer Greggs has apologised after publicity shots for its new ad campaign included a nativity scene in which baby Jesus is replaced by a sausage roll. Photos promoting the company’s new advent calendar showed three wise men gathered round a manger in the traditional fashion but, rather than gazing in wonder at the son of God, their eyes fall on a Greggs pastry. The stunt was apparently meant to be taken in a light-hearted way but numerous people pointed out the fresh take on the 2,000-year old scene could cause offence because Jesus was Jewish and eating pork is forbidden in the Jewish faith. The photograph was one of a number of publicity photos for the calendar, including a Santa with flakes of pastry in his beard, a Greggs shop in a snow globe, and a woman about to kiss what appears to be a chicken slice under the mistletoe. Greggs said in a statement: “We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention.”

Tollgate Brewery to launch fourth micro-pub, in Leicester next month: Tollgate Brewery, an independently owned micro-brewery based on the National Trust’s Calke estate, near Ashby-de-la-Zouch, is to open its fourth micro-pub. The Queens Road Tap will open in Queens Road, Leicester, next month offering real ale, craft beer, cider, wine and gin. Tollgate produces a wide variety of traditional real ales from its six-barrel plant. Jamie Traynor, who has been managing Tollgate micro-pubs The Tap At No.76 in Ashby-de-la-Zouch and The Town Street Tap in Duffield, is also the driving force behind the launch in Leicester. The brewer’s other micro-pub is The Tollgate Tap in The Post House, a new “gusto hub” in Derby city centre that features independent food and drinks brands.

Peckham pub operators to open live music venue and nightclub: Parched London, the team behind The Montpelier and White Horse pubs in Peckham, are to open a live music venue and nightclub in the south London suburb. The company is launching Ghost Notes next month at the Peckham levels development, which is seeing the inner levels of the Peckham town centre car park transformed into a creative space. Parched London said the venue would champion south London’s “thriving music community” and provide a platform for “all the good stuff that goes on in our neighbourhood”. Ghost Notes will host a weekly programme of live music during the week and DJs at the weekend, reports Fact Magazine.

Hotel Chocolat opens shop+cafe site in Birmingham: Hotel Chocolat has opened a site for its shop+cafe format in Birmingham city centre. The company has opened the venue in New Street on the site previously occupied by sports nutrition store GCN having agreed a ten-year lease with landlord Hortons Estate at an annual rent of £102,500. Hotel Chocolat has two other sites in Birmingham – in the Bullring and Grand Central shopping centres – but neither has a cafe. The New Street store sells a range of chocolates and gifts as well as serving food and drinks in the Cocoa Bar Café. Hotel Chocolat has expanded the number of shops with cafes it operates to 17 and said it saw scope for many more when it announced its full-year results in September. The company was co-founded by entrepreneurs Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris in 1993.

Stonegate invests £500,000 in Brighton Walkabout revamp, launches new Slug and Lettuce menu: Stonegate Pub Company will reopen its Walkabout site next month following a £500,000 refurbishment. The company is overhauling the venue to give it a more “relaxed” look ahead of relaunch on Saturday, 9 December. The new look will include the introduction of American-style bleachers, an improved late-night experience, and a gentle nod to the seaside with deckchairs scattered throughout. There will be two projector screens and 20 high-density televisions showing sport, while table service will be provided to all guests. A new concept will see duelling pianos playing the latest hits and customers’ requests. The food menu will include a dedicated parmi and barbecue section, sharing dishes and party platters alongside craft beer, wine and “Aussie Twist” cocktails in cans. Meanwhile, Stonegate’s Slug and Lettuce brand has rolled out a new menu across its UK sites, including an expanded vegan offering. Also new to the winter menu is the Breakfast Sharer – a combination of bacon sliders, omelette soldiers, honey-glazed pork sausages, barbecue beans and sautéed mushrooms, topped with avocado. There is also a cocktails and cakes offer with a selection of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, bite-sized desserts and a choice of any cocktail. New drinks include The Chocolate Ben-o with Frangelico hazelnut liqueur, Licor 43 and Marie Brizard Cacao Blanco, topped with chocolate sprinkles.

Pub and live events operator to reopen former Lewisham music venue as restaurant and bar: Pub and live events operator Ian Gough is to reopen former music venue Dirty South in Lewisham, south London, as a casual restaurant and bar. The original venue in Lee High Road closed in 2011 following the London riots. Now it is set to finally reopen, on Monday (20 November), with a residency from chicken burger concept Other Side Fried, which operates at Pop Brixton. The menu will include the Honey Butter Burger (fried chicken with bacon, smoked honey butter, pickles and lettuce), a vegetarian option with fried celeriac, cheese and chive sauce and a fried egg, and dirty fries with bacon, parmesan and hot sauce, Hot Dinners reports. The drinks list includes beer and cider on draught and in cans and bottles, alongside cocktails, wine, spirits and coffee. The Dirty South website states: “Whether it’s an indulgent dinner or a relaxing afternoon coffee, we offer the perfect space for people to come together, unwind and enjoy excellent food, drink and service.” Ian Gough is listed on Companies House as a director of a number of firms including The White Lion pub and music venue in Streatham High Road, performing arts company Shut The Front Door, and record label Hostage Music.

Loungers launches Beeston site: Cafe bar group Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has opened a site in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Bendigo Lounge has opened in a former charity furniture shop in High Road and is Loungers’ second venue in the county following the launch of Capo Lounge in Mansfield in May, which was the company’s 100th site. The Beeston venue pays homage to 19th century bare-knuckle boxer William Abednego Thompson, also known as Bendigo. The venue features pop art-inspired table tops, vintage sofas and school benches. Loungers, which also operates the Cosy Club brand, was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop. Earlier this month, Loungers chief executive Nick Collins told Propel the company had a strong pipeline, with Lounge openings lined up in Bury and Sudbury in the run-up to Christmas and a Cosy Club in Leeds. He said: “The start of 2018 will see us opening Lounges in Melton Mowbray and Stockport and a Cosy Club in Lincoln. We remain on track to open around 24 sites this financial year.”

Escapologic to expand escape rooms business with Leicester site: Nottingham-based Escapologic is to start expansion of its escape rooms business by opening a second site, in Leicester. The company will open the venue in the vaults of a former NatWest bank branch in St Martins early in the new year. The venue will initially feature three rooms – a Second World War “missile communication base” in which guests have to change the trajectory of a rocket, a nuclear reactor room where customers must try to clear a relative’s name, and a Victorian laboratory where guests must stop a disease from breaking out far into the future. Many of the building’s original features will be retained including a Georgian-style foyer with fireplace. Escapologic director Simon Stokes told the Leicester Mercury the site would house at least eight rooms by the end of 2018, with seven of them aimed at families and the eighth aimed at over-18s. He said: “You’ll feel like you are slipping through time.”

South west entrepreneur teams up with gourmet food store owner to launch Cheltenham restaurant: A south west entrepreneur has teamed up with the owner of a gourmet food store in Cheltenham to launch a restaurant in the town. Plans have been approved for the revamp of a property in a grade II-listed terrace in Montpellier Street. Proposals to transform the premises into a restaurant were lodged by Bibury Court. It has been granted permission to fit-out the basement and ground floor to provide restaurant space, as well as refurbish the first and second floors. Bibury Court’s sole director, John Lister, confirmed the business was working with Maurice Chaplais, baking specialist and owner of Maison Chaplais, on the project. Known as Chaplais Kitchen, the new venue is scheduled for launch in the spring, reports Insider Media. Bibury Court once operated the former Bibury Court Hotel in Tetbury, a Jacobean manor house that sits on the banks of the River Coln. The property was sold almost two years ago and is no longer a hotel.

Trampoline park operator Jump In gets go-ahead for Coventry site: Trampoline park operator Jump In has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Coventry. The company has been granted permission by the city council for the venue, which will be based in a vacant warehouse in the Tile Hill area, creating 60 jobs. Jump In, which has a number of similar activity centres, said it was attracted to Coventry as it is the largest metropolitan area in the UK without a trampoline park. The 1,850 square metre unit in Earlplace will now be transformed into the new facility, which will include interconnected trampolines, wall trampolines, a foam pit, a dedicated toddler jump space and a Gladiators-style battle beam. The new park is expected to open in the spring. Harris Lamb brokered the deal with landlords Avon Capital Estates on behalf of Jump In prior to a planning application for change of use being submitted, reports The Business Desk.

Leon launches Christmas menu: Healthy eating brand Leon has launched its Christmas menu. This year’s offer includes a mix of Leon classics and new items. The menu features two festive wraps, including a vegan offering consisting of a nutty roast with sweet potato falafel, cranberry and clementine sauce, vegan sage-and-onion mayo, rocket, toasted pine nuts and crispy onions. Leon has again partnered with chef and food writer Gizzi Erskine to bring back the Leon x Gizzi Christmas turkey curry. There is also a pigs-on-blanket muffin, mini mince pie, and Brussels sprout and sweet onion soup.

Whitbread submits plans for 84-bedroom Premier Inn and restaurant in West Bromwich: Whitbread has submitted plans for an 84-bedroom Premier Inn and restaurant in West Bromwich. The company has applied to Sandwell Council to build the hotel with a Brewers Fayre restaurant next to New Square Shopping Centre in Congregation Way. Whitbread said it would be a “prominent leisure offer and economic driver” for the area, reports the Express & Star. The design and access statement said: “The design of the proposed building seeks to reflect a contemporary design that responds to the site’s prominent location alongside a main route into New Square and West Bromwich town centre.”

Leeds-based micro-brewer Wilde Child expands to quintruple production: Leeds-based Wilde Child Brewing has moved to larger premises in Armley to quintruple production after securing a five-figure investment from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF). Brews from the new 2,000 square foot brewery will be available from February. Keir McAllister-Wilde, who launched the micro-brewery in 2016, told BDaily: “The demand for our products has been extremely high and I have been looking at ways to expand the operation and keep pace with orders. Investment provided by the BEF will allow me to fulfil my ambitious growth plans, which includes employing more people and expanding our customer base outside Yorkshire. I’m also considering the possibility of opening a tap room.” BEF investment manager Andy Clough added: “It’s fantastic to see another successful Yorkshire micro-brewery growing.”

Merseyside-based gin and wine store lodges plans for over-25s bar in Wigan: Merseyside-based gin and wine store Portland Wine Warehouse has lodged plans to open a bar in Wigan. Owners Lyndsay Porter and Hobby Alam have submitted plans to Wigan Council to launch the over-25s bar and shop at The Winstanley Centre in Holmes House Avenue. Porter told Wigan Today: “It complements the shop so nicely. We will have the same wine machines as in the shop and there will be gin and rum. Everything you can drink in the bar will be available to purchase from the shop. There will be a small selection of international bottled beer, premium gin and rum. People will be able to have a look and experience our products we sell in the shop without restriction.” Porter and Alam run Portland Wine Warehouse in the village of Billinge, near St Helens.

Queensway bids to convert Aberdeen city centre office block into hotel: Family-owned property business Queensway Group plans to convert a prominent office building in Aberdeen city centre into a venue for its budget hotel brand Point A. It is seeking to convert Denburn House in Union Terrace into a separate hotel and aparthotel. The plans would see the original stone frontage and windows retained, with the hotel providing double, twin and accessible rooms while the aparthotel would feature 57 studios, the Evening Express reports. Queensway launched Point A Hotels in February comprising seven hotels – six in London and one in Glasgow – all owned by Raag Hotels, a joint venture between affiliates of the Queensway Group, the Wellcome Trust and Fifty Seven 7, a company owned by Naguib Kheraj. At the time of Point A’s launch, Queensway Group chief executive Naushad Jivraj said the company intended to grow Point A Hotels “significantly” over the next few years, with the aspiration to become a “well-loved and affordable” hotel brand.