The £1.9m sale marks ‘the beginning of a new era’ for Barworks, with the group’s co-owner Marc Francis-Baum telling BigHospitality ‘we took the Bar and Kitchen as far as we could’.
“Hoxton is a monster of a place and at the Bar & Kitchen you really have to concentrate on the whole music side of things to be on top of it," he said.
“We like running smaller bars and Hoxton Bar & Kitchen just seemed to stand out from what the rest of our group is doing, so we are pleased to have sold to the Mama Group.”
The Mama Group, which was sold to Lloyds Development Capital by the now-in-administration HMV, approached Barworks directly for the deal. The money will be split between paying off loans and expanding the group’s existing brands.
Barworks venues include Electricity Showrooms, The Black Heart, The Exmouth Arms, The Well & Bucket, The Slaughtered Lamb, Two Floors, The Railway Hotel, The Wenlock & Essex, The Earl of Essex and Camden Town Brewery.
The group also has six London locations of The Diner, including Soho, Camden, Islington, Shoreditch, Kensel Rise and Covent Garden. It's portfolio is set to grow to eight this year, with a site being built on Gloucester Road, and terms being agreed for another, also in the capital.
“We’re trying to do about three new sites for the Diner Group every year for the next five years,” added Francis-Baum. “We’ll probably venture outside of London in the next couple of years to test the water. It’s a separate company which is pretty much self-funding at the moment.”
Barworks is also now working on the lease for a new site in Farringdon, which Francis-Baum says will be ‘along the lines of the Well & Bucket pub in Shoreditch’ – which the group also operates.
The portfolio of brands also includes the ‘cocktail club’ concept 5cc, which recently launched at the Well & Bucket. Francis-Baum, who owns Barworks with Andreas Akerlund and Patrik Franzen, believes 5cc could be paired up with existing and new Barworks venues.
“If you look at the Electricity Showrooms (also in Hoxton Square), we’ve got a dance floor in the basement. We’d like to give it a more grown-up feel so a cocktail concept would definitely work.
“If successful, then maybe 5cc could grow to the size of the Diner Group but at the moment it’s too early to tell.”