South East multiple operator Whelans has outlined plans to double its estate over the next five years as it prepares to open its latest pub venture.
It has recently taken on The Goat in Shirley and will reopen it as The Apple Tree at the end of October following a joint investment with Star Pubs & Bars of more than £500,000.
The pub, which has been closed for two years, is to become a premium neighbourhood local introducing home cooked food, barista style coffee, live music and sports and the high levels of service associated with Whelans’ other operations.
The Apple Tree brings to the number of pubs within the Whelans portfolio to 10, including five under the Whelans Irish pub brand as well as The Elm Tree in Elmers Green, The Foundry in Chichester and The Black Bull Ruislip.
Seven of these sites are with Star Pubs & Bars.
Owner Austin Whelan said the company harbours plans to double the size of its portfolio.
“In the next five years we plan to grow our estate to 20 pubs – a mix of Whelans branded pubs and premium local community sites. It takes two years to establish a brand and we’re on target, trading above expectation. We’ve got some really good strong venues and have an offer which resonates – sports daily, fantastic live entertainment and good quality food and drinks.”
In addition to more sites in the South East, Mr Whelan said the firm is looking to take on pubs in prime locations in Manchester and Birmingham – increasing the likelihood of further tie-ups with Star.
“My relationship with Star is very good,” he said. “They have been very supportive of me, so I look forward to working with them as I grow my business further.”
The Apple Tree’s look and feel will be modern urban featuring a mix of exposed brick walls and feature wallpaper, reclaimed wooden flooring and sumptuous leather sofas.
Currently a shell, a new floor, ceiling and bar with bi-fold doors are being installed to brighten the interior and create an inside/outside feel.
The light and airy pub will seat 100 and have a designated dining are as well as a raised floor for live music performances.
Mr Whelan added: “The area has changed in the last few years and The Apple Tree is changing with it. The community is crying out for a great neighbourhood pub and I intend to deliver that.”