Pubs and Bars

John Quinlan joins chef Lee Murdoch for premium gastropub concept

Hospitality entrepreneur John Quinlan and international chef Lee Murdoch have teamed up to launch a Three’s A Crowd, a new concept in independent, contemporary ‘anytime’ dining and drinking.

The concept is said to be for those of all ages who love good food and want to try the best ingredients made using the latest ingredients techniques without any pretentiousness or formality.

In April 2019, the two opened the “luxury local” in the former Muckles pub overlooking The Stray on West Park in Harrogate, north Yorkshire.

Following a £430,000 refurbishment funded by owners Star Pubs and Bars, Three’s A Crowd has been transformed from a dated pub to a contemporary “home from home” premium venue which pays homage to its roots with the original bar from the 1800s with the addition of Italian marble tables, handmade leather seat backs, and greenery.


Licensee Quinlan started his career at Hotel du Vin in Harrogate back in 2005 when it was the town’s premium destination for evening drinking and dining and has lead on the opening of a string of bars and restaurants across the UK.

He said: “We’re foodies and entertainers at heart and believe we bring something completely different to the table. And because we’ve got the freedom and flexibility to do what we want, we can keep adapting to stay one step ahead of the competition. We don’t follow trends, we want to set them, and with Three’s A Crowd, we’re setting the bar pretty high. It’s five star food, drink and service without the airs and graces.”

The seasonal menu has been created by Scottish-born Murdoch who was previously executive chef for the D&D Group which includes a stint at Leeds’ multi award winning Crafthouse restaurant. He has also worked at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in Abu Dhabi as chef de cuisine at 55&5th The Grill restaurant and the five-star Turnberry Resort Hotel where he won an Award of Excellence from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.

Murdoch added: “What I love about Yorkshire is seeing the cows and sheep running around and beautiful crops growing right on your doorstep and just knowing it’s going to taste delicious. I love meeting producers and finding out what’s new and fresh.

“While we try and source everything as locally as possible, we always strive for the best, which sometimes means going further afield for an extra special champagne or the freshest, tastiest oysters. Nothing is set in stone, it’s all about the flavour, and that’s what makes us different to the boring high street chains and most other independents.”

The menu includes classic pub dishes like fish and chips and there is a separate seasonal vegan menu. The newly-opened private dining room aims to allow the chefs to give guests an “extra special experience”, tailor made for their special occasion/group.

The Three’s A Crowd team of kitchen, waiting and bar staff have been hand-picked from some of the region’s top restaurants and bars including 25-year-old former Crafthouse chef Joe Carroll.

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