London pub group announces plans to double its number of venues

The Red Setter has replaced All Bar One in Clapham Junction
-Credit: (Image: Urban Pubs and Bars)

A company which owns dozens of pubs in London has announced plans to double the number of venues following strong demand from customers. Urban Pubs and Bars runs 42 pubs and bosses say they want to maintain the momentum from recent growth.

In May the company celebrated 10 years in business since it opened its first pub, the Whippet Inn in Kensal Rise. There have been multiple new sites in recent years, including through the acquisition of 13 former Barworks venues three years ago.

Other venues owned by the company include Bat and Ball in Stratford, Bar Kick in Shoreditch and The White Lion in Stroud Green.

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Malc Heap, co-founder of the group, said it hopes to maintain a strong pace of pub openings in the coming years. He said: “We’ve got to 42 pubs after some really strong openings over the past few years, doubling us in size.

“And we’re hoping we can do that again over the coming years too. Our balance sheet is in a really good position to allow us to move when good opportunities arise and we are really happy with our pipeline.

“Our immediate ambitions are to keep growing. Our performance and growth has been really good for the past two or three years so we are taking a lot of confidence from that and our good management team.”

Earlier this year, the pub group – which is backed by investors Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual – announced earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £6.4 million for the year to April 30, 2023. This represented an 11% rise on the previous year.

It came as the group revealed that like-for-like sales grew by 17% while turnover rose by almost 60% to £52.2 million on the back of its continued expansion. The company said it will target more sites in London as part of its growth strategy, amid positive demand from customers in the region.

“London is a competitive market but we will still focus on growth there because it’s a market we know, we are confident in,” Mr Heap said.

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