The 11 North Staffordshire pubs at risk as chain struggles with £2bn debt

Concerns have been raised for the future of 11 bars across North Staffordshire after a debt-stricken pub chain revealed there was 'uncertainty' about its ability to continue. Stonegate, the UK's largest pub group, is grappling with £2.3bn in debts.

The company, which operates Slug and Lettuce and Reflex bars alongside several smaller standalone venues, has yet to secure new loans to plug the hole in its finances, despite repayments being due as early as June next year.

Talks with potential lenders are said to be under way. The company has 4,000 venues, including 98 across the West Midlands with three in Stoke-on-Trent, six in Newcastle and four in Stafford.

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It has told BirminghamLive, pubs aren’t at risk of closure and no venues are at risk as a result of refinancing. It follows a turbulent few years for the hospitality industry following forced closures during the Covid pandemic, rising costs and faltering customer spending habits due to the cost of living crisis. Stonegate's company accounts revealed a 'material uncertainty' that 'may cast significant doubt on the company and group's ability to continue as a going concern'.

However Stonegate's chief executive, David McDowall said: "We would also like to assure our valued employees and partners that venues are not at risk as a result of this process."

-Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel
-Credit:Pete Stonier / Stoke Sentinel

The CEO previously said: "We have been very clear that we continue to work towards achieving our long-term balance sheet goals, with the successful refinancing of a portion of our estate in December marking a significant strategic step towards this.

"Our performance gives me real confidence in the future and excitement in seeing our strategy come to fruition. We would also like to assure our valued employees and partners that venues are not at risk as a result of this process.”

See below for a list of the North Staffordshire bars which are run by Stonegate

Full list of Stonegate-owned pubs and bars in Stoke-on-Trent

  • Reflex, Hanley

  • Market Tavern, Hanley

  • Green Star, Smallthorne

  • The Village Tavern, Wolstanton

  • The George and Dragon, Newcastle

  • Reflex, Newcastle

  • Yates, Newcastle

  • Slug & Lettuce, Newcastle

  • The Golden Lion, Newcastle

  • Talisman, Tunstall

  • The Windmill, Meir Heath

  • Luck Penny, Stafford

  • Coach & Horses, Stafford

  • The Yard, Stafford

  • The Grapes, Stafford

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