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Fri 14th Aug 2015 - Revolution founders plan 'world's best bars' after Manchester acquisition
Revolution founders plan ‘world’s best bars’ after buying 50% stake in Manchester operator: Revolution Vodka Bar founders Roy Ellis and Neil Macleod have acquired a 50% stake in Manchester bar operator Trof Group, founded by Joel Wilkinson and Adelaide Winter, with a view to opening the “best entertainment venues and bars in the world” under a new vehicle called Mission Mars. Trof Group has a £6m annual turnover and operates three multi-award winning venues in Manchester, including Gorilla and Deaf Institute. The first project for Mission Mars is the £3.5m opening of Albert’s Schloss on the ground floor of the grade II-listed 3,000 capacity Albert Hall, which offers a total of 24,000 sq ft of space, on Peter Street. The 2,500 capacity upstairs area of Albert Hall has been operated for two years as a live entertainment venue by Trof Group, hosting circa 130 sell-out events including gigs by Sam Smith, the Manic Street Preachers and The Script. Wilkinson said: “We operate some of Manchester’s most successful and exciting venues with Gorilla and Deaf Institute firmly established on the live band and club scene. When we acquired the 3,000 capacity Albert Hall on Peter Street we knew of only two people who had the knowledge and experience that could help us achieve our ambitious dreams for this beautiful and iconic Manchester landmark. We are looking forward to an amazing launch in October with more venues to follow in the near future.” Albert’s Schloss aims to chart new territory by offering a unique food, drink and live entertainment offer. The design brief states: “Albert’s Schloss draws inspiration from Bavarian beer halls, upmarket Alpine lodges, and, of course, the great schlosses of Europe. Traditional themes and ideas will be delivered in a contemporary fashion, in a way that compliments the existing characterful building. The offer will feature a large dominating bar, long sharing tables, open log fires, reclaimed 200-year-old timber flooring, grand feature lighting, plush leather booths and an intimate performance stage. It will, however, avoid the male-dominated atmosphere, hard surfaces and historic feel of the typical bier keller. Albert’s Schloss will be an upmarket addition to the Manchester bar and restaurant scene. Albert’s Schloss will specialise in European lagers. Freshly brewed Pilsner Urquel will be delivered by tanker direct from the Czech Republic every week and other lagers will be shipped in barrels. European lagers will be presented in beautiful branded glassware of a variety of sizes. Our to-the-table delivery will not only be unique but also add to the authenticity and friendliness of the offer. Other drinks (include) a range of cocktails, sharing drinks and a wide selection of great-tasting schnapps, which will be blended on-site in a specially created schnapps vault. The food will be high quality, simple, rustic and fresh-cooked served in a fast-paced and casual/fun environment. The menu will contain items of Bavarian, Bohemian and Alpine origin with contemporary twists in addition to other modern classics. We will cook over flame, and with a smoker. Our menu will be concise with distinct signature dishes served in unique and interesting ways. We will have an in-house bakery providing fresh bread, pretzels, pastries and puddings. Live music and an eclectic mix of performers will feature most nights on the stage and at weekends from 10pm.” Ellis said: “Our new company, Mission Mars, has been formed to create the best entertainment venues and bars in the world. We aim to have the very best venues to work in, be entertained in, and invest in.” Winter and Macleod are responsible for the design and marketing of the new venue. Mission Mars has obtained finance from Santander’s Growth Fund.

Revolution founders secure Enterprise site for pub brand: Revolution Vodka Bar founders Roy Ellis and Neil Macleod have secured the second pub site for their Flying Pig & Lobster vehicle, which was launched last year in partnership with celebrity chef Simon Rimmer. The trio set out to modernise the traditional pub offer by creating a retail offer that trades through all the day-parts with a broad demographic. A total of £350,000 was invested in The Elephant pub in Liverpool, a Star Pubs & Bars site, last year alongside the creation of an American tavern concept called Liberty Tavern, which cost an additional £450,000, in a building next to the pub, a “shack-style” venue offering US classics such as shrimp cocktails and slow-cooked Texas chilli. The two venues are now taking circa £100,000 a week, with the pub achieving 40% like-for-like sales growth on its first anniversary and Liberty Tavern is set to annualise like-for-like growth of 20%. Liberty Tavern’s offer has been sharpened in recent months after a nine-strong team from the company travelled to the US to research trading ideas. Now the company has secured an unnamed Enterprise Inns site, to be operated on a free-of-tie lease, within 15 miles of the original site for the second opening. Ellis said the Flying Pig & Lobster team is currently researching retail offers in Scandinavian countries to give the second opening a Nordic feel. The second site, which offers 80 car parking spaces, will be 50% bigger than the original opening. Of the first opening, Ellis told the Propel Multi Club Conference in March: “We have nearly trebled the pub’s cask sales and we sell a lot of local beers. We have quadrupled the sales in wine and we can see a payback on our original investment in under a year.”
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