Urban Leisure Group to grow to eight bars by 2014

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Maida vale

Urban Leisure Group opened Elgin bar and restaurant at the beginning of 2012 and is planning to open two more bars in the next year
Urban Leisure Group opened Elgin bar and restaurant at the beginning of 2012 and is planning to open two more bars in the next year
London-based restaurant and bar operator Urban Leisure Group has this year opened a new venue in Maida Vale and is planning to launch two further sites within the next 12 months.

Urban Leisure Group, which operates six sites across the capital including two under the Alice House brand, opened the Elgin bar and kitchen on the site of the former Lord Elgin pub on Elgin Avenue at the end of January.

Speaking to BigHospitality, operations director Adrian Hartley confirmed the group were already in discussions about their next two openings.

“Our plan is eight (bars) this time next year – I think that is realistic,” he said.

“We have got an offer in on a venue in north London and we are viewing a site which, if it comes off, would be our biggest site to date. We love the location. That would be open this time next year at the latest.”

As well as the Elgin, Urban Leisure Group recently relaunched its Central & Co brasserie and bar.​ The privately owned company’s other sites include Graphic in Soho and the Alice House venues in Queen’s Park and West Hampstead.

"It has been a great year for us; it is the start of trying to push Urban Leisure forward in terms of becoming a little bit more recognised amongst our peers for the quality of our offer,” added Hartley.

The Elgin

Led by head chef Amy Peck, the Elgin offers breakfast and brunch as well as lunch and dinner. The menu features sustainably-sourced meat from Ginger Pig with highlights including Ginger Pig traditional Sausages, puy lentils and buttered cabbage; carve-at-the-table roasts and sharing boards or small plates.

The Elgin features an 80-cover ground floor bar linked by a wrought iron staircase to a 30-cover first floor table service dining room. The menu is available throughout the pub but is offered with more informal service in the downstairs bar.

The 'light and airy' design features antique furniture and work by local artists hung on the pub's exposed brick walls.


Like many new pubs springing up across the capital, the Elgin's drinks list includes a considered wine offering and a selection of local and craft beers - the team are working with Meantime, Freedom and Brewers & Union.

However, Hartley said he was confident this venue could stick out from the crowd.

"Our offer is similar to that of our Alice Houses. It is predominantly fresh food-led at a quality level in a contemporary/industrial environment with lots of amazing art," he said. 

“Given the fact that there is so much residential (properties), you have to believe there is a market for it in this area.

“If you can rely on a local, people tend to use them a lot, Provided we are trying to be a centre of the community, we can get a little bit of the business that people give the branded coffee shops and diners.”

“What we try to do is not be consistently average." 

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