Loungers to launch Cosy Club in Chester: Cafe bar brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has signed to open a Cosy Club in the first phase of the £300m Chester Northgate development. The 180-cover restaurant will open in Hunter’s Walk, an arcade being formed from a former library to link Town Hall Square with a new public space in front of the relocated market and Picturehouse cinema. Cosy Club’s 5,500 square foot unit on ground and first-floor levels will face on to Town Hall Square close to the newly opened £37m Storyhouse cultural centre, which has paved the way for Chester Northgate. Cosy Club has taken the unit on a 15-year lease and is expected to open in 2018. David Lewis, executive director of Rivington Land, the council’s development manager, said: “Securing Cosy Club is another great example of how Chester Northgate will attract many new brands to the city centre and enhance its vitality and long-term sustainability.” JLL is the leasing agent acting for Chester Northgate. Last month, Loungers reached the milestone of 100 sites, which currently includes 18 Cosy Clubs with others due to open in Lincoln and Worcester. The company was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop.

Manchester-based bar operator to open third site, in Southport: Manchester-based bar operator Expansive Horizons is to open its third site, this time in Southport, Merseyside, as it begins expansion of its country garden-themed Allotment bar concept. The company, owned by James Kennedy and Gavin Williams, has converted the former HSBC bank in Birkdale into the new venue, which will open next Friday (16 June). It will feature more than 100 gins as well as an extensive choice of wine and beer, while the food on offer will include “quintessential British dishes” served in a tapas, small plate style. Meanwhile, the bank vault will be used as a private dining area, reports the Southport Visiter. As well as the Allotment bar in Manchester, Expansive Horizons also operates The Old Packet House in Burscough, Lancashire, which it acquired last May.

Hop Stuff Brewery adds four team members: Hop Stuff Brewery has added four new members to its team. New sales director, Matthew McAloone, joins Hop Stuff with more than a decade of experience in the beer industry and a CV including roles at Charles Wells Brewery, Meantime and West Brewing Company. Making a comeback to the vibrant UK beer scene after 25 years in Australia is newly appointed off-trade sales manager Dom Hollinshead. Taking on his first UK role after three and a half years working for Lion Breweries in New Zealand is brand and marketing manager Doug Gilbert, who joined in March 2017. Rounding off the team is Hop Stuff’s new head brewer Andrew Dickson. His experience in the industry includes a degree in brewing and distilling and previous roles in six different breweries, including Carling and Meantime. Hop Stuff’s plans for future expansion and a refreshing attitude to its market approach inspired him to join the team. James Yeomans, founder of Hop Stuff Brewery, said of his newly formed team: “I am delighted to see the Hop Stuff family expand to include four new members, who have already proven to be awesome additions to the team. Andrew, Doug, Dom and Matthew will play a key role in the company’s expansion and will no doubt breathe new life into our brand, adding to the already ambitious nature of our business and ensuring an exciting future for us all.”

US create-your-own burger brand launches in UK with Glasgow site, plans roll-out starting with fast-casual version in London: US create-your-own burger brand Counter Customer Burgers has launched into the UK by opening a site in Glasgow. The franchise-operated chain has opened at The Quay in West Paisley Road and is now planning roll-out, starting with a leaner, fast-casual version called Built, which will launch in Ilford, east London, later this summer. West Midlands-based company Daniel Johns, which has acquired the brand’s franchise rights in the UK, said the Ilford venue would focus on a faster dining experience, giving diners an opportunity to create their own build-as-you-go burger. Launched in Los Angeles 14 years ago, the brand features a checklist system that offers more than a million combinations of burger. It operates more than 40 restaurants in the US and in international cities including Dublin and Riyadh. The Counter founder and co-chief executive Jeff Weinstein told Glasgowist: “We know in the UK market there is an appetite for gourmet burgers and, with our custom-built burgers, we feel we can bring a unique offering.” Daniel Johns director Khalid Iqbal said the Glasgow and Ilford venues were just the start of a planned UK-wide push for the brand. He added: “We were attracted to The Counter and Built because of its commitment to delivering the very best experiences in taste and service and attracting an enthusiastic clientele of burger lovers – a phenomenon we aim to replicate.”

Manchester-based operators launch gourmet hotdog and waffle bar concept Sugar Rays: The team behind Manchester’s Mexican cantina El Capo has launched gourmet hotdog and waffle bar concept Sugar Rays in the city’s Northern Quarter. The venue has opened in Newton Street at a basement site formerly housing Q Cavern Caribbean cafe bar, the Manchester Evening News reports. Sugar Rays features a New York-style lounge bar with moody lighting, dark wood-panelled walls and leather banquettes. It offers seasonally changing cocktails alongside beer and “boilermakers” – beers served with spirits – such as the Schoolboy Q, a schooner of Guinness with Amarula. The food menu, served until late, features eight kinds of hotdog, including the Nikka Nori Dog, which is served in a brioche bun glazed with Japanese whiskey and topped with sliced nori seaweed, wasabi mayonnaise and Asian slaw. There are also four kinds of waffles, including the Fairground Ride (chocolate and vanilla ice cream, bubblegum sauce, marshmallows, popcorn, whipped cream and candy floss).

Marco Pierre White to open Steakhouse Bar & Grill near Solihull: Marco Pierre White’s franchised company Black and White Hospitality is to open a Steakhouse Bar & Grill restaurant near Solihull in the West Midlands. The venue will open at the Best Western Plus Manor Hotel in the village of Meriden later this month. It will seat 120 diners and also have a private dining room. Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin told The Business Desk: “The Manor Hotel is a popular destination for business travellers and local guests. It’s the perfect destination to be opening our latest Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, which will bring a whole new dining offer to the area.” Pierre White’s franchised restaurant estate, which comprises Wheeler’s of St James’s; Steakhouse Bar & Grill; Mr White’s English Chophouse; Marco’s New York Italian; and Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini & Espresso Bar; is set to hit 40 sites this year, including his first Welsh site – in Cardiff – opening in July.

BrewDog launches general election poll with free beer offer: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched its own general election poll while inviting anyone who votes on Thursday (8 June) to claim a free pint of Punk IPA. The “BrewGov” poll involves staff handing out cans of Punk IPA near the company’s UK bars to anyone who tells them which party they intend to vote for. The data will be collated on Wednesday (7 June), with BrewDog intending to “call” its election results before the polling stations open the next day. Voters will also be able to claim a free pint of Punk IPA on Election Day in a bid to “encourage voter turnout”. Beer fans will have to take a picture of themselves outside their polling station and show it to bar staff at any BrewDog bar to claim their free pint, with the offer extended to 9 June.

Shrewsbury-based cocktail bar The Libertine to open third site, in Cardiff: Shrewsbury-based cocktail bar The Libertine is to open its third site, in Cardiff. Owner Sam Taylor has agreed a deal to open the bar in High Street within the city’s Castle Quarter after securing a site through agents EJ Hales. The Libertine has taken a lease that sees a stepped rental leading up to £68,500 per annum. Work has started on a refurbishment of the 2,500 square foot ground-floor property, which has additional basement space, with the venue due to open in August. Director Huw Jones told Business News Wales: “We have been monitoring the Castle Quarter area for some time and seen the emerging brands and recent openings that are creating the ideal environment for our quality type of operation.” Phil Morris, partner at EJ Hales, who acted on behalf of the vendor, added: “This part of Cardiff is improving rapidly, with a really exciting mix of new tenants creating a vibrant, independent bar and restaurant culture.” The Libertine has sites in Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth, while Taylor also operates House of the Rising Sun and co-owns American-style diner Biggies in Shrewsbury.

Great British Menu finalist to open second Brighton restaurant: Michael Bremner, who is a finalist in the BBC’s current series of Great British Menu, is to open his second restaurant in Brighton. Bremner, who runs acclaimed 64 Degrees in Meeting House Lane, will launch new venture Murmur on the city’s seafront. Bremner told The Argus: “The food will be healthy and honest. I have two girls and there are only a handful of restaurants on Brighton beach where I would eat so I like creating something I can take my kids to. It will be very chilled and relaxed. I don’t want the same sort of pressures and expectations of 64 Degrees.” The restaurant will also offer breakfast and brunch, with the name inspired by the murmurations of starlings that fly around the nearby West Pier. It is the second year Bremner has competed in the hit television competition, making the finals both times.

Ainsty Inns reopens Yorkshire country pub for sixth site following £1.5m refurbishment: Yorkshire-based pub group Ainsty Inns has reopened a North Yorkshire country inn following a £1.5m refurbishment. The Plum & Partridge in Husthwaite, near Easingwold, now features nine guest rooms and a restaurant. Ainsty Inns has taken a ten-year lease on the site, which had been vacant since 2014, for the sixth pub in its estate. Owner Antony Pratt told BDaily: “The pub needed a clear direction and some TLC and following the refurbishment we believe we have created a destination inn that oozes traditional country inn charm but with a modern twist, which will appeal to diners, drinkers and also those looking to stay the night in one of our warm and stylish rooms.” Ainsty Inns operates five other pubs – The Beehive in Thorner, The Chequers Inn in Bilton-in-Ainsty, The Swan & Talbot in Wetherby, The Duke of York Inn at Gate Helmsley, and The White Swan at Wighill. The company, founded by Pratt in 2012, employs 110 staff with turnover expected to reach £2.84m in its current financial year.

Michelin-starred management team opens food-led Oxfordshire pub: David Holliday and Alex Sergeant, who have both managed London’s only Michelin-starred pub The Harwood Arms, have reopened The Bottle & Glass Inn in Oxfordshire under a free-of-tie lease. The grade II-listed pub in Binfield Heath, near Henley-on-Thames, has undergone an 18-month restoration by owners The Phillimore Estate. Sergeant oversees the drinks menu, championing local beers, including Loddon beer brewed on the estate, plus a carefully curated selection of wine and champagne. The food menu focuses on seasonal wild game and locally sourced produce. The Bottle & Glass Inn features a separate “locals bar”, a wood-burning stove, and an outdoor dining terrace. Holliday was also head chef of Berkshire gastro-pub Pot Kiln and co-founded David Oliver Fine Foods and Natural Blender, the UK’s first subscription-based smoothie business. Holliday and Sergeant said: “We are both extremely excited and truly believe this will be a great addition to the Oxfordshire pub and dining scene.”

ETM Group to open brewpub, distillery and urban farm in Shoreditch: Tom and Ed Martin, of ETM Group, will open the Long Arm Pub & Brewery in east London’s Worship Street this month. The pub and brewery is unique to the UK market, the Martins said, free from packaging and boasting an on-site micro-brewery and micro-distillery alongside an urban farm. The Long Arm beers will be served fresh from tank to glass, cutting out the keg, cask and bottling process. Additive and chemical-free, Long Arm’s unfiltered, unpasteurised “Tank Fresh” brews will be dispensed from six 1,000-litre tanks, ensuring optimal quality and taste. The man in charge of the regularly rotating six-strong range, which will always include a lager, pale ale, IPA, stout and a low-strength brew as well as a guest beer, is third-generation brewer Guillermo Alvarez Schulenburg. Working with The Craft Distilling Business, Long Arm will also distil its own small batch gin from a 50-litre copper and steel still, also creating natural extracts that will be used in cooking and brewing. Fresh food will complement the fresh beer offering, with a menu featuring craft burgers along with bar snacks such as fish tacos, chilli salt squid, croquettes and Mexican sopes – a thick tortilla topped with meat and vegetables. The 85-cover, 2,500 square foot interior will be industrial yet contemporary, with exposed concrete and brickwork, parquet flooring and Victorian tiling. A timber bar will take centre stage, while graffiti of the brewing process will be sprayed on the walls. Ed Martin said: “Our Long Arm Brewery in Ealing has been producing exceptional beers and our latest opening will combine my passion for brewing with my love of hospitality. Guillermo’s knowledge of the brewing process is second to none and I am confident the increasingly quality-driven beer drinker will be excited by our dynamic selection of brews.”

Greene King opens flagship £3.5m Farmhouse Inn close to Humber Bridge: Brewer and retailer Greene King has opened its £3.5m new-build Farmhouse Inn close to the Humber Bridge. The Wingfield Farm pub has been built on derelict land in Hessle following three years of planning and a 28-week construction schedule. The pub can cater for 340 people and features an area specifically for over-12s as well as a children’s play area. There is also a farmyard-style play area for under-fives and a separate space with games consoles to keep older children amused while they wait for their food. The pub will be run by Sheila and Tim Smith, the third Farmhouse Inn the married couple have managed. Sheila Smith told the Hull Daily Mail: “I am amazed at how quickly it has come on. The finish on it is lovely and I think it’s our best one yet. The people around here are excited about tucking into the carvery. We’ve employed 105 staff and most of them have come from Hessle Jobcentre.” Tim Smith added: “There is something for everybody here and we really do offer the wow factor with the portion sizes, cakes, ice creams and carvery.

Handmade Burger Co applies for York site licence: Handmade Burger Co has applied for a licence to open a site in York. The company has lodged an application with the city council as it looks to open a restaurant on the site of the former outdoor and ski-wear store Trespass on the corner of Finkle Street and St Sampson’s Square. It wants to open a restaurant from 9am to 12.30am daily and serve alcohol from 9am until midnight, reports York Mix. Last year, Handmade Burger Co co-founder Chris Sargeant said the company planned to add 15 sites to its 29-strong portfolio during the next three years. Sargeant launched his first restaurant with brother Richard in Birmingham in 2006 and now operates venues across the East and West Midlands, Yorkshire, the north east and Scotland, as well as sites in Manchester, London, Reading and Southampton.

Leeds-based operator bids to open sky bar for second city centre site: Leeds-based businessman Mazhar Mahmood, who operates Norman Bar in the city centre, plans to transform a nearby empty restaurant into a sky bar. Mahmood, who also owns telephony solutions company Core Telecom, plans to extend a building in Merrion Street to add two storeys and create a third-floor sky bar with outside seating and dining area, as well as a ground-floor bar and restaurant and two floors of office space. The design and access statement said the development would have a regenerative effect “not just for the building itself but also potentially for the surrounding area”, Insider Media reports. The aim is also to give the building a “new identity while keeping some of the original character”. Construction work would create stair and lift cores to serve the offices and penthouse, and two new entrances.

Everyman Cinemas to anchor new Liverpool dining development: Everyman Cinemas is to anchor the redevelopment of Liverpool’s Metquarter shopping centre as it is transformed into a new premium dining and retail complex. The boutique cinema operator is the first completion since asset manager Queensberry bought Metquarter in January 2016. The new signing forms a central part of the multimillion-pound redevelopment strategy, which involves bringing a cluster of high-quality leisure and restaurant brands to the Victoria Street end of the centre. The four-screen cinema is scheduled to open in autumn 2018. Everyman Cinemas chief executive Crispin Lilly told Place North West: “We’re extremely excited to be launching in Liverpool. It’s such a vibrant city with an incredible cultural legacy, and we’re proud to become a part of that. The Everyman Cinema offer is all about delivering a great night out, with a broad range of quality films and events combined with our discerning bar and social spaces, which will complement the Metquarter scheme perfectly.” Queensberry commercial director and co-founder Stuart Harris added: “Everyman Cinemas is exactly the kind of quality operator we want for the Metquarter. It will provide an additional customer draw to the centre when it opens in autumn 2018 and is an important step in moving towards our vision of revitalising and repositioning Metquarter as the premium leisure, restaurant and shopping offer in Liverpool city centre.”

Nobu appoints Roche Communications for PR role: Nobu has appointed Roche Communications as PR agency for its London restaurants as well as events and private dining dates at both restaurants. The agency will work alongside Nobu to bring the brand’s “history, people and dishes to the forefront of London’s ever-competitive dining scene as it celebrates its 20th year in London”. Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and Hollywood actor Robert De Niro launched Nobu London in Old Park Lane with business partners in 1997. The venue went on to win a Michelin star for its new-style Japanese cuisine influenced by Peruvian ingredients, with dishes such as black cod miso. Sister restaurant Nobu Berkeley ST has hosted some of the capital’s “most exclusive parties”. Last month, Nobu announced it would open its third London restaurant within its first European hotel, in Shoreditch. The 240-cover restaurant will open in July spanning almost the entire footprint of the hotel in Willow Street. Nobu has more than 30 restaurants worldwide.