Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams behind plans for new Liverpool boutique hotel: Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams is behind plans for a new boutique hotel in Liverpool. Developer Elliot Group originally submitted a proposal to the city council for a block of apartments in Norfolk Street. Now it has revised its plans and lodged plans for a 306-bedroom luxury hotel, worth £70m, after Adams became involved in the scheme. If the change of use is approved, the development will instead become a mixed-use hotel block – providing 50 serviced apartments, an events space, a rooftop restaurant and an outdoor circuit training terrace. It would be the second city centre hotel for Adams’ Vincent brand, after construction began on the Ropewalks-based Times Aparthotel earlier this year. Adams told the Liverpool Echo: “The development has a great waterfront location with superb views and guests will feel they have chosen to stay in a very special place.” Adams also operates the Vincent Hotel in Southport and its sister operation, the Vincent Cafe & Cocktail Bar at Liverpool’s Exchange Flags. He is also launching Vincent Asian Kitchen in Bold Street, Liverpool.
Simmons Bars opens ninth central London site, in Camden Town: Cocktail bar operator Simmons Bars has opened its ninth central London site, this time in Camden Town, after agents Davis Coffer Lyons assigned the leasehold for a site in Kentish Town Road previously trading as Havana BBQ & Bar. A new 15-year lease was agreed at a rent of £125,000 per annum exclusive for the 2,000 square foot ground floor and basement venue. Simmons Bars, which is privately funded by Nick Campbell, has other sites in nearby Mornington Crescent and King’s Cross, as well as in Chelsea, Fitzrovia, Fulham, Liverpool Street, Soho and Tower Bridge, with a tenth site set to open in Temple later this year. The company states on its website: “Located right next to Camden Town underground station, the latest addition to the Simmons empire promises more top-quality, drinking-related fun. Please note this is our second site in Camden, not to be confused with our Mornington Crescent venue!”
Wetherspoon decides Scottish seaside town is too small for opening: Pub giant JD Wetherspoon has ditched plans to open in the Scottish seaside town of Leven, claiming the town is too small with a population of 8,850. The company is putting the derelict Threeways Inn back on the market. Wetherspoon denied speculation their decision had anything to do with local businessman Lee Murray’s plan to open a pub in the same street. A spokesman said that would have made no difference to Wetherspoon. “The company has made a commercial decision that the town is too small for one of its pubs,” he said. “It was simply the case of looking at the town again and realising it wouldn’t work for Wetherspoon.”
Adam Handling to start expanding The Frog restaurant concept with second site, in Covent Garden: Chef Adam Handling is to start expanding his restaurant concept The Frog with a second London site, in Covent Garden. Handling, who launched the concept in Shoreditch last year, will open the new venue this summer. The flagship restaurant will showcase Handling’s distinctive cooking style – combining technical savvy with the best possible produce – with a sizeable open-plan kitchen and a large private dining room in the basement complete with its own kitchen. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner all year round, with a team of 37 staff. Alongside the food, Handling will showcase his love for premium cocktails in a speakeasy-style basement bar with its own entrance, and will feature artwork from a prominent artist. Handling said: “The Frog E1 has been so well received and set the standard for The Frog as a group. The new restaurant will be rooted in those foundations but also have its own distinct style with its own dishes. The new site will draw a different clientele to the first restaurant in Shoreditch and I want it to be unlike anything else currently available in Covent Garden. The bar will be a new venture for me – I’ve always loved creating and drinking quality cocktails. Having a separate space downstairs dedicated purely to the drinks offering has given me scope to be so much more creative in creating its own identity separately from the restaurant and my food offering.”
Northern Ireland-based Balloo Inns Group invests £500,000 in Hillsborough gastro-pub refurbishment: Northern Ireland-based Balloo Inns Group is giving its gastro-pub the Parson’s Nose in Hillsborough a £500,000 refurbishment and launching an extended menu. The company, which opened the venue in 2009, is expected to complete the overhaul next month. Plans include a new interior and a courtyard, along with substantial expansion of the pub’s kitchen. Managing director Ronan Sweeney told Insider Media: “We are delighted to announce this significant investment in the Parson’s Nose. We will continue to offer the same first class produce, including local seafood, premium dry-aged steaks and pub grub classics, but are also particularly excited to be introducing new culinary features to the menu including lighter, more casual-dining options.” Balloo Inns Group also owns the Balloo House in Killinchy and the Poacher’s Pocket in Lisbane.
Stonegate reopens former JD Wetherspoon pub in Walton: Stonegate Pub Company has reopened The Regent in Walton, Surrey. The company acquired the pub in Church Street from JD Wetherspoon as part of a ten-strong package in September last year. Stonegate said it planned “significant investment” for the coming months and previous staff would continue to work at the venue. Chief executive Simon Longbottom told Get Surrey: “We have a strong track record in picking sites that, when we add a touch of Stonegate magic, customers love. We are already planning the next stage of the pub’s future with investment that will enhance the pubs offer, and we’re looking forward to revealing those plans in the coming months. In the meantime, it’s a huge welcome to the pub’s team and loyal customers.” The leasehold was put up for sale by agents CBRE and Savills, with a yearly rent of £64,800 expiring in March 2034.
Halifax-based Thai restaurant operators open tapas concept in town: Paul Nichols and Scott Carroll, who operate two Thai restaurants in Halifax, West Yorkshire, have launched a new tapas concept in the town. The cousins launched their first Café Thai in 2010 in Green Lane, opening a second, larger site in 2014 just around the corner. They have now opened 50-cover Café Thai Tapas in Stainland Road. Nichols told BDaily: “Our restaurant is extremely popular in the local area, often fully booked four to five weeks in advance. We found ourselves in the frustrating position of turning customers away. Now Café Thai Tapas has launched we have more than doubled our capacity, offering people another way to try our tasty food.”
Former Molson Coors director to join Microsoft and Lego chiefs as new Starbucks board members: Former Molson Coors director Rosalind Brewer is one of three industry leaders nominated to join Starbucks’ board of directors. Brewer, now Wal-Mart executive vice-president, has been nominated alongside Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella and Lego executive chairman Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. If elected at Starbucks’ Annual Meeting of Shareholders on Wednesday, 22 March the additions will increase the Starbucks board to 14. Starbucks said Nadella would provide “invaluable insight in international operations and distribution as Starbucks continues to focus on innovative ways to use technology to elevate the brand and grow its business”. The company added that Brewer would provide “vast experience in product development, product management, leadership, digital technology and innovation”, while Knudstorp would bring a “proven record of innovation and unique insight of brand and digital marketing, strategy, consumer products, and international operations and distribution”. Starbucks chairman and chief executive Howard Schultz said: “Innovation and pushing to alter the status quo are core to our culture and by welcoming three world-class, values-based leaders to Starbucks’ board of directors on their election at the annual meeting, we will strengthen our leadership and add unmatched expertise in technology, strategy and retail to the company at a time of unprecedented change for our industry.”
Huddersfield-based multi-siter gets go-ahead for new wine bar in town, fourth venue in total: Huddersfield-based multi-site operator Mark Robertson has been given the go-ahead to open a new wine bar in the town – his fourth venue. Robertson has been given permission by Kirklees Council to convert the former Armitage Sykes solicitors in Macaulay Street, which is next door to his real ale pub the Plumbers Arms. He will transform the grade II-listed building to house a wine bar on the ground floor with eight bedrooms on the first and second floors, reports the Huddersfield Examiner. Robertson also owns The Waterloo pub in Huddersfield and the Waggon and Horses in nearby Outlane.
Healthy takeaway Benny’s Pomodoro set for expansion with second north east site: Healthy takeaway Benny’s Pomodoro, which operates a venue in South Shields, has applied to open a second site in the north east, this time in Newcastle. Concept founder Benny Pomodoro wants to turn a site that once housed the Pineapple pub in Grainger Street into a healthy deli and takeaway. Pomodoro has submitted an application to Newcastle City Council to serve food from 6am to 11pm. Benny’s Pomodoro offers smoothies, brown rice and chicken dishes, jacket sweet potatoes and salad boxes. The concept’s healthy take on a pizza uses tortilla as a base. Pomodoro told Chronicle Live: “We won’t be using any fryers, frying pans or grills – it’s all going to be steamed or boiled.”
Freehold of Beatles-inspired hotel in Liverpool goes on market for £950,000: The freehold of the Beatles-inspired Penny Lane Hotel in Liverpool has gone on the market for £950,000. The three-storey, 17-bedroom property is being marketed by agent Christie & Co. Formerly a bank, the hotel is in the Mossley Hill area of the city, close to the childhood homes of John Lennon and Paul McCartney and 15 minutes from the world-famous Cavern Club. All 17 en-suite bedrooms, a mix of double and twin rooms, have been individually designed and, along with the reception and breakfast room area, feature Beatles artwork and memorabilia. Ryan Lynn, associate director at Christie & Co, told The Business Desk: “This is a fantastic opportunity for a buyer to not only get involved in a hotel that is continuing to grow on a yearly basis but also to be part of the history of The Beatles by paying homage to their memory. An experienced operator could capitalise on the unique location of The Penny Lane Hotel and build on the current business to drive profitability forward.”
Plans approved for £40m cinema, restaurant and retail complex in Redhill: Plans have been approved for a £40m cinema, restaurant and retail complex in Redhill, Surrey. Developer Coplan Estates has been given the go-ahead by Reigate & Banstead Borough Council for the scheme. The development will replace the council’s Marketfield Road car park plus 12 shops with offices above in High Street, opposite the main entrance to The Belfry shopping centre. It will include a six-screen cinema and up to 11 shops and restaurants on the ground and first floors. There will also be 153 studio, one, and two-bedroom flats for private rent built above. The scheme also includes basement parking for residents and a new pedestrian route connecting High Street to Marketfield Way. Council executive member for property Natalie Bramhall told The Construction Index: “The redevelopment will provide a huge boost to our regeneration ambitions and the local economy by creating hundreds of jobs and increasing spend in the town.” Work is expected to start later this year and complete in 2019.
Whitbread submits plans for Premier Inn, Beefeater and drive-thru Costa in Buckingham: Whitbread plans to open a Premier Inn, Beefeater pub and drive-thru Costa Coffee shop in Buckingham. The company has submitted plans to Aylesbury Vale District Council to build the venues opposite a planned Lidl superstore at Lace Hill, Mix 96 reports. Whitbread said the hotel, pub and coffee shop would bring jobs to the town on land that had “already been earmarked for employment use”. In the plans, the company also argued that the buildings would be more attractive than standard office blocks or warehouses, which could be another option for the land.
Novus Leisure donates £15,000 to fund water wells in Tanzania: Novus Leisure, the London bar and restaurant operator, has donated £15,000 to Cheers for Cheer, the charitable fund set up by Carly Pickering in August. Cheers for Cheer helps small, unsupported projects in South America, Africa and the UK, using the power and generosity of the hospitality industry together with the goodwill of the public. Prior to Christmas, Novus Leisure committed to donating 20p for every Christmas meal sold and 10p for every Christmas cocktail sold – generating almost £15,000, which the company rounded up. The donation means Cheers for Cheer can fund the construction of four water wells in Mseko, a village in Tanzania that is home to 4,000 people who have no access to clean water. Every penny will be donated to the village.