Jason Atherton to launch sixth site, focus on wines: Chef Jason Atherton's business The Social Company will launch a sixth site this June, Social Wine & Tapas on James Street in Marylebone, London. The 70 cover bar and restaurant will offer quality, rare and fine wines, 'accessibly-priced', alongside a tapas and snacks menu, created by head chef Frankie Van Loo (formerly Social Eating House). The venture will also incorporate a sizable wine shop. Set over two floors, the ground floor will house the wine shop and tapas bar, which will have an open kitchen with a dining counter, banquet seating for up to nine covers, and an elevated wine-tasting table for ten. A narrow staircase will lead to a basement wine bar, with additional seating, a second tasting area, a corner bar and a preparation kitchen counter. Laure Patry, who has worked with Jason Atherton for over ten years, will head up Social Wine & Tapas. Atherton and head chef Frankie Van Loo are developing a menu of modern tapas-style dishes, made with the 'best of British produce'. In addition to the tapas menu, a seasonally changing selection of cheeses and charcuterie will be served via the basement kitchen counter. The Social Wine Shop on the ground floor will have trained sommeliers on hand at all times to offer tastings and guide the buyer. In addition, the shop will also stock glassware, Coravin wine systems and wine accessories. Social Wine & Tapas described as a notable addition to his restaurant group because 'wines and sommeliers will take centre stage'.
Molson Coors buys Burtonwood Brewery: Molson Coors UK has acquired the brewing and kegging operation of Thomas Hardy’s Burtonwood Brewery, located near Warrington. The acquisition follows Molson Coors UK’s longstanding business partnership with Thomas Hardy, who will continue to operate its contract bottling business from the shared site providing 'mutually beneficial opportunities' for both parties. Following the acquisition, the Thomas Hardy board will remain unchanged, with Gary Todd remaining the site director for the Burtonwood bottling facility. The acquisition supports Molson Coors UK’s long-term strategy to build a sustainable brewery network to produce 'extraordinary brands to delight consumers and customers'. The small flexible brewery will complement Molson Coors UK’s existing network of breweries providing a new dynamic facility to innovate, brew and package a wide variety of beers. Over the last five years Molson Coors UK has invested £100m into its brewing operations. In the future Molson Coors UK and Thomas Hardy expect to create new jobs at the brewery and bottling line, securing local employment and long term sustainability for both sides of the site. Victoria Segebarth, supply chain director, Molson Coors UK and Ireland, said: “The new brewery acquisition will open up the potential for experimental brewing in addition to exploring partnership opportunities with our customers. This is central to our long term strategy to delight our consumers and customers through increased capability and flexibility to brew great beer.” Chris Ward, of Thomas Hardy added: “The sale to Molson Coors UK will enable us to grow our volumes, invest in new infrastructure and ultimately create new jobs for the local community. It’s an exciting time which provides long term sustainability for the site and a great opportunity for Thomas Hardy to grow our business.”
Liverpool’s LEAF tea rooms to open in Manchester: The cafe-bar operator LEAF which currently runs three venues in Liverpool, is to open in Manchester city centre this summer. The company is to occupy space at 113 Portland Street in the former CUBE Gallery, which closed in 2013. Its 7,000 sq ft space will form part of the property company Bruntwood’s 122,000 sq ft West Village redevelopment, involving four Victorian warehouses redesigned by the Manchester-based interior design company the Sheila Bird Group. LEAF’s managing director Natalie Haywood, who founded the operation in 2008, said: “For some time we’ve been looking at opportunities in Manchester but when we were shown this space we knew immediately that it was perfect for LEAF.” The chain’s three operations in Liverpool, on Bold Street, OhMeOhMy in West Africa House on Water Street, and the Garden at FACT on Wood Street, serve 35 types of tea, 15 wines, and a menu that includes cinnamon porridge, falafel flatbreads and a Goan-style fish curry, while the venues also host live gigs, late night DJs, knitting clubs, art exhibtions, open mic nights, film screenings, vintage markets and even life drawing workshops. Toby Sproll, head of retail and leisure at Bruntwood, said: “LEAF is a fresh, dynamic and fiercely independent retailer that has already won a number of national awards. We are confident that LEAF will add to the eclectic mix of customers in our West Village portfolio and provide a further boost to the amenities at this end of Portland Street.”
Demand for space in Leeds from restaurant and bar groups ‘unprecedented’ says property consultant: Central Leeds is seeing “unprecedented” demand from restaurateurs and bar groups looking for sites, according to the retail and leisure property consultancy Pudney Shuttleworth. The firm said it had seen “massive” interest from more than 70 established restaurant and bar operators seeking to secure representation in the city. Many were London-based and, having piloted their concepts in the capital, were ready to replicate and improve their offerings in the major UK cities, with Leeds and Manchester regularly towards the top of their requirements lists, the consultancy said. Director Richard Shuttleworth told a local newspaper: “In 25 years of working in Leeds I have never experienced this level of demand from the leisure sector, which ultimately will give us all many more new and exciting venues to meet, eat and drink in. The Greek Street area in particular is benefitting from an influx of new operators and having a huge resurgence. Our letting of the former Prohibition bar to Living Ventures for a second Leeds Alchemist demonstrates their confidence not only in the city, but in the professional core, with them making a significant investment in not one, but two units. The Alchemist’s sister brand, Gusto is also scheduled to open this summer in the former Henry’s café bar on the ground floor of Pennine House. These two lettings, combined with the construction of the 90-bedroom Dakota hotel, with its own public-access restaurant and bar, will completely revitalise the street. The strong Leeds office market is also great news for leisure occupiers looking for a foothold in the city, as many of the new developments incorporate ground floor space earmarked for leisure use. The significant size of some of the larger developments will provide well over 1,000 office staff at the upper levels, which is clearly an excellent start for any occupier seeking to tap into the demand for food and drink in the city centre.”