Pubs (and bars) in brief …

Portobello Pub Company has acquired its first pub, The King & Co in Clapham. It is keen to acquire more wet-led free-of-tie pubs in the capital.

Red Oak Taverns has completed the purchase of a portfolio of 18 leased and tenanted pubs from Wadworth, for an undisclosed sum. The pubs are all located in the South and South West and strengthen the strong regional bias of Red Oak’s estate, which now comprises 179 pubs.

Camerons has acquired the former Lloyds Bank in Park Row, Leeds, to open its third Head of Steam bar in the city.

Entries have opened for CAMRA’s Pub Design Awards, organised in conjunction with Historic England. The awards recognise the highest standards of pub design, in categories ranging from the refurbishment and conservation of existing pubs, to the construction of new ones. Find out more on the CAMRA website

Brewer Seven Bro7hers is to open its second beer house, this time in the new Middlewood Locks development in Manchester. It will join the company’s existing venue, the Ancoats Beerhouse.

The first-ever Team Margot Pinkspiration Week, running from July 23 to 30, saw teams in pubs, bars and restaurants across the country show their support for the charity awareness week by serving pink drinks, offering pink food items, and wearing pink clothes. The aim of the week, set up by industry entrepreneur Yaser Martini, was to raise awareness and encourage people to register as stem cell donors. In December this year, a team of three dads will be taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge and hoping to encourage new registrations from 1.5 million people — the number of strokes it will take them to complete the 3,000 mile journey, hence the campaign slogan #WeRowYouRegister.

The Forum of Private Business has backed a CAMRA study into the vital role of pubs in communities. Ian Cass, managing director of the forum, said: “It is clear that a viable and successful pub supports local communities as a central hub. It is, therefore, hugely concerning that the government has done little to tackle the excesses of large pub-owning companies who have, in many cases, treated what is a vital part of our heritage and culture as nothing more than a profitable asset to be squeezed and then sold when it has served its use.”

Entries remain open for the Charity Pub of the Year competition until September 30. Organised by PubAid and the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group (APPBG), and sponsored by Matthew Clark, the contest seeks to recognise pubs who go the extra mile in their support of charities and good causes. Enter online here

Innis & Gunn says it has seen a 30% rise in like-for-like sales at Edinburgh and Glasgow venues it converted from Brewhouse Kitchens to Brewery Taproom branding.It is now changing a third site in Dundee.

Severn Cider has taken over Gloucester’s oldest pub, Dick Whittington’s. The frade I listed pub, which had been closed since March, was once home to Richard (Dick) Whittington, who became Lord Mayor of London.

Shepherd Neame is launching an apprenticeship programme for aspiring managers and chefs. The Faversham-based brewer and pub operator has teamed up with Umbrella Training, a specialist hospitality apprenticeship provider based in Chatham, to provide a structured development programme for ambitious team members to progress within the business.

Mitchells and Butlers says like-for-like sales for the ten-week period since its last announcement grew by 2.8%. Growth in food sales was particularly strong, in comparison with a period last year that had included strong drink sales driven by the World Cup, and an extended period of sunny weather, demonstrating the breadth and resilience derived from our broad range of established brands. Total sales have increased by 4.1% in the year to date.

Leeds-based Nomadic Beers is to open its first pub. It is to manage the Rose and Crown in Bradford, which is part of the grade II listed Sunbridge Wells complex.

Not-for-profit organisation Healthy Hospo will give one of a series of pop-up talks at the London Craft Beer Festival. The organisation’s UK champion, James Beeson, will explain how hospitality business owners can create a healethier and happier culture for staff and ultimately drive greater profits.

A gluten-free burger specially created for Shepherd Neame has been honoured at a national industry awards ceremony. The 8oz gluten-free chuck steak burger, which is only available across all of Shepherd Neame’s 70 managed pubs and hotels, was highly commended in the best free-from product category at the Meat Management Industry Awards.

Bolton-based Blackedge Brewery is to open its first bar. It has taken over the former Horwich Carpets site, in Market Street, with the aim of being open by the end of August.

Marine Hotel Tankerton

A £500,000 transformation of the Marine Hotel, in Tankerton near Whitstable, has been completed. The Shepherd Neame hotel, which boasts impressive sea views, has undergone a substantial transformation of its bar and lounge area, restaurant, reception and Orangery. The project was started in January, and the 30-bedroom hotel remained open while the work was carried out.

The Swan at Tarporley, Cheshire, has begun renovations ahead of a relaunch, which will see a new menu based around Josper fire cooking. Owner 16Hospitality has made a significant investment, with the new interior set to utilise the building’s original features while incorporating modern touches. Rooms will be individual, creating areas to accommodate different customers, from an atmospheric bar, to an overground wine cellar and slightly more formal dining area.

St Austell Brewery has acquired The Bridge Inn, Dulverton — its first pub on Exmoor. The pub, which had been a freehouse, will become part of St Austell’s tenanted estate.

The team behind The Tapas Room have joined forces with Brixton’s London Beer Lab to create Taps + Tapas, a craft beer tap room and tapas bar in Tooting Bec. There will be a shared culture of learning, tasting and discovery via a menu of bespokebeer and Spanish food pairings, in an informal environment. The venue opens to the public on August 2.

Fraser Johnston Vine Inn

The Vine Inn, Tenterden, Kent, has re-opened after a £250 refurbishment by Shepherd Neame. There’s a new general manager, too — 36-year-old father of two Fraser Johnstone (pictured above), who first worked behind the bar at The Vine 12 years ago.

Kirsty Mackenzie, the managing director of Lakeland Inns, in Cumbria, has been shortlisted in the hospitality category of the Enterprise Vision Awards for women in business.

The Devonshire Arms, in Hartington, Buxton, has re-opened following a £620,000 investment by Punch, with multiple operator Chris Hannon’s Coastal & Country Inns as new landlord. The major renovation has transformed the grade II listed building and included a full external and internal refurbishment.

John Walker Tavern

The John Walker Tavern (above), in Stockton on Tees, has opened its doors following a £342,000 investment by Punch. The full transformation of the pub and new name celebrates the town’s historic connection to John Walker, the original friction match maker and one-time supplier to King William IV. There are new licensees: Joanna Oliphant and Denise Hamilton.

Butcombe Brewery is to open a boutique hotel and café-bar in Bath. The café will become The Blind Pig bar in the evenings.

Mitchells & Butlers is teaming up with BP Chargemaster to deliver up to 200 rapid car charging points at a number of its pubs and restaurants across the UK.

Luke Emmess, head chef at The Still & West, in Portsmouth, has been named Fuller’s chef of the year 2019, winning a four-day placement in British chef Simon Rogan’s new restaurant in Hong Kong.

Camerons Brewery has been named PubAid charity fundraiser of the year at the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s annual awards. The brewer has partnered with the RNLI, Toast Ales and local Alice House and Teesside hospices. It has also been one of the key sponsors of local boxer Savannah Marshall, and has provided funding since the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Heineken’s Star Pubs and Bars business is to be investigated by the Pubs Code Adjudicator. The company is suspected of using unreasonable stocking terms in proposed free-of-tie market rent only tenancies.

The Barons Cross, Leominster, is relaunching this weekend under the leadership of Gillian Moss, who will be running her first pub, alongside her husband Dave. There is also a planned joint investment of around £100,000 with Admiral Taverns, to be completed later in the year.

A cafe, bar, and restaurant named the Saw Grinders Union has opened in the Kelham Island district of Sheffield stocking, among othe things, a range of craft beers. Taps have offersings from the likes of St Mars of the Desert, Magic Rock, Northern Monk, and Beavertown.

Shepherd Neame Oomph Burger

Twelve Shepherd Neame pubs are to offer the Oumph! Burger, new to the UK. Created from soya beans by the award-winning Swedish company Food for Progress, Oumph! was launched in Sweden and Norway in May and has become a leading brand in the plant-based food market. Oumph! is high in protein and fibre, and low in fat. It is also a good source of iron and folic acid, and is gluten-, dairy- and nut-free. The red colour of the burger is completely natural, resulting from the addition of beetroot.

Brigid Simmonds is to step down as chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association. She is leaving to become chairman of the new Betting and Gaming Council.

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