Two multiple operators have taken on Edinburgh pubs and are undertaking major investments with Star Pubs and Bars, part of a £960,000 investment in four pubs in the Edinburgh area in the first quarter of 2019.
The Annfield and The Victoria are both having kitchens installed to enable them to capitalise on the growth in eating out in pubs and will also offer barista style coffee. Around 40 new jobs will be created as a result.
Star Pubs and Bars is investing £325,000 in a £500,000 refurbishment of The Annfield with Scottish multiple operator, Neil Douglas who also has the award winning Ardnamurchan in Glasgow. The pub, which has been closed for a couple of years, is to reopen at the end of March as a neighbourhood bar serving a range of gourmet burgers.
It will be renamed Basil’s, a reference to 1960s modernist architect Sir Basil Spence and will have 60’s style interiors mixed with the concrete cool of Basil Spence’s brutalist designs. Its new modern industrial look will feature exposed brick walls and concrete panelling with retro painted slogans, a block wood rustic bar and bench seating. The nine-week refurbishment will see the interior opened up to create one large eating and drinking area with 80 covers.
Douglas said: “The pub needed investment for it to realise its potential. It’s an exciting opportunity to create a real resource for the community as the area is currently under provisioned, especially with the new harbour development. Basil’s will be somewhere people can walk to.”
The Victoria, which has been closed since September, will reopen at the end of March with the look and feel of a city centre bar. It will be renamed Damm27 to reflect its change in direction. The pub is being completely overhauled and will have a retro urban interior. The two-room layout is being reconfigured to create one eating and drinking area. At its heart will be a new central bar surrounded by a mix of high tables and chairs and booth, banquette and freestanding seating. The walls will be stripped back to make a feature of the exposed stone, and new timber and tiled floors fitted.
New licensee Andy McCartney, who recently opened Embargo in Glasgow, added: “This is my first site with Star and hopefully the first of many as I expand and grow my hospitality bar and restaurant group across Scotland. Damm27 will be a contemporary continental café bar and the menu will include a selection of continental style mussel pots and gourmet burgers as well as an array of small plates to choose from.”
Other pubs benefiting from investment in the first quarter include The Scotsman on Cockburn Street which reopened on 1 February having had its décor, bar and floor upgraded; and The Spylaw in Colinton where outside dining booths are being installed as part of a complete six-week refurbishment which commences on 4 March.
The company also plans to invest a further £340,000 in The Phoenix on Broughton Street, changing it from a sports bar into a top end stylish pub with a name change. Designs for the city centre pub include new parquet floors, an antique mirrored ceiling, panelled and tiled walls and jewel coloured velvet and leather banquette seating together with greenery throughout the pub. It is currently looking for a licensee to take the pub forward.
Brian Davidson, Star Pubs and Bars regional operations director, said: “We’re delighted to be kicking off 2019 by investing in some fantastic Edinburgh pubs, as invested pubs, especially those offering food, are good news not just for licensees who run them but for the communities they serve. Investment attracts new licensees, which then creates new jobs, boosts local businesses and helps brings people of all ages together throughout the day and evening.”
Star Pubs and Bars has 270 pubs in Scotland of which 57 are in the Edinburgh area.