The City Pub Company is a combination of two separate companies; the City Pub Co. East and City Pub Co. West.
City Pub Company East is a high quality and successful pub business founded in December 2011 by the established industry entrepreneurs David Bruce, Clive Watson and John Roberts.
Impressively, the business took off straight away acquiring a portfolio of high quality pubs in thriving cities and towns in the South East, including London. Their distinctive portfolio boasts a selection of attractive pubs situated in affluent locations in Southern England such as Oxford, London and Cambridge.
Speaking to Premier Hospitality Magazine, CEO of City Pub Company East Rupert Clark told us that:
“We had reason to believe that there was a big opportunity outside of London. Therefore, we have set up our projects in towns with great history such as the market town of Stratford-upon-Avon and educational based cities such as Oxford and Cambridge. Places with a tourist draw or a large population living there such as Bath and Norwich have also proven to be excellent opportunities.”
Church Street Townhouse was the first pub that was purchased by the City Pub Company East, located in Stratford-upon-Avon. This historic site was taken on board during June 2012. According to Rupert the business is allowed to raise £15m within each company, to buy, operate and renovate a portfolio of independent entrepreneurial pubs throughout the UK.
Purchased in October 2013 by City Pub East, the Georgian Townhouse, the company’s first venture in Norwich was opened to the public in June 2014. When it was purchased, the site was more of a bar restaurant with several guest rooms, so the company changed the focus to a destination food pub with a few rooms. The offer has been kept as inclusive as possible to ensure it can cater for all types of occasions.
A stunning place to eat and drink in the heart of Norwich, the Georgian Townhouse integrates a relaxing bar, airy conservatory and several dining areas. A range of local craft beers, an extensive wine list and a tempting menu of fresh and local produce are all on offer for the diverse mix of local customers. The sun-kissed garden presents an outside bar, BBQ, croquet lawn as well as table tennis.
Tillbrook Construction acted as the main contractor on the project. The City Pub Co decided to prioritise altering the buildings layout; they worked closely with the council to optimise the car park whilst protecting many of the established trees. Another aspect of the project included the renovation of the beautiful garden which has now been converted into a scenic 250 cover space.
Different contractors are used by The City Pub Co depending on the location and budget of the projects. Tillbrook Construction has been a very adaptable and competent company and has worked on various developments.
“We took a hedge down at the Georgian Townhouse as we knew something was behind it, we found a large old cart lodge, so we had to review the plans and change the layout to include this wonderful old building. As an adaptable contracting company, Tillbrook Construction were quick to offer a variety of ideas and solutions which allowed the project to be largely unaffected and continue smoothly.”
With the Georgian Townhouse, the layout had to be modified before it was ready for opening. However since opening, the pub has been very well received and customer feedback has been excellent. Opening in the summer with such a beautiful outside space has meant that the new venture has been very busy from the outset, which has presented several challenges however it remains very busy and we have been extremely pleased with what we have achieved.
“It’s a sizeable unit so we’ve done it up in such a way that families are very well catered for, customers can come for a few pints and play table tennis in the garden, celebrate with a sit down dinner or even have a corporate event or wedding reception in the Pembroke Rooms, our function rooms with private terrace. It is a large enough venue to cater for everybody to enjoy themselves.”
“We have always thought pubs are about a community of diverse backgrounds and cultures coming together, rather than one particular demographic being targeted or portrayed.”
Constantly adapting, the company ensures that they listen to the feedback from customers and take action when necessary in order to continually improve and keep their businesses thriving. For example feedback on the menus and drinks lists are always welcome and appreciated as it allows City Pubs to understand what people enjoy and make adjustments to the less popular dishes or drinks.
Another venue in City Pub Company East is an iconic pub named The Phene, situated in the heart of affluent and fashionable Chelsea. This was bought in April 2013 and significant time was spent getting a full understanding of the pub and what it should offer its customers.
The lovely weather in July and August last year meant The Phene traded very well over the summer, and in late August the upstairs was refurbished as the function room which was previously unloved and unpractical, was given a stylish facelift. This overhaul has encouraged all kinds of business from cocktail parties to weddings and board meetings.
Fine beers, delicious wines and cocktails are available from the chic bar, with a delightful dining area and a menu of freshly prepared food on offer all day. The gorgeous Phene Garden embraces comfy sofas, outdoor fireplaces and stylish hanging basket chairs to deliver a real urban and quirky place to eat and drink.
Whilst Christmas 2013 was successful for The Phene, there were improvements that still needed to be made. In January the downstairs area was renovated, taking the design style from the Oakley function room upstairs and continuing this into the bar & restaurant spaces. There is a huge demand for the function rooms so space has always been kept flexible.
Regarding The Phene pub, Rupert said:
“We realised that we were not delivering on food quality as much as we should have and this was very much down to the fact that the kitchen design wasn’t right. To rectify this we used about 40% of the budget on the redesign of the kitchen and now our quality food is served consistently and customer feedback has been excellent.”
In the near future further venues are being developed, with several sites that the City Pub Company East are working on currently. Two more sites are being renovated this year for City Pub East and one more for West. The Cock and Bottle located in Notting Hill is one of the two that the company are working on, due to be finalised at the end of September.
Rupert told us:
“All of our sites are individual and have their own identity; none of the interiors are replicated. There may be some similarities but very few as we start each project as if it is a blank sheet of paper. We begin by working out what is right for that site, the customers and the layout and also what we are able to deliver operationally.
“We don’t like to rush into our projects either; we take our time and try to understand what is best for that particular site before giving it an identity. Some of our sites require a full refurbishment and others are a case of a lick of paint and some new furniture, but we always give the same dedication and drive with each and every pub.”
For more information on City Pub Company East, please visit: www.citypubcompanyeast.com.
Cummins & Pope Ltd
Cummins & Pope Ltd specialise in pub refurbishments and the revamping of licensed trade premises. Having been in operation since 1969 the firm has carried out projects for a plethora of high profile clients.
These clients include Punch Taverns, Genting Casinos, Best Liquor and KFC. Premier Hospitality caught up with Mark Pope, Director at Cummins & Pope Ltd, to find out more about the firms involvement with The City Pub Co. Mark said:
“We have worked with the firm since their inception; we have completed most of City Pub Co’s venues in the city centre and the west region. It is important to be involved with them as they are a new, up-and-coming client and it is exciting to be involved with them.
“We pride ourselves on getting jobs done in the quickest time and on budget.”