The Urban Pub Company is a rather unusual operation in that it seeks to take over pubs that have been closed down, or where the ownership has gone into administration or liquidation, and turn them around into profitable businesses that can be either handed over to a new landlord or sold on to a new company.

Formed just two years ago, in February 2010, The Urban Pub Company now operates a number of licensed premises throughout the Central Belt of Scotland, including: The Lincoln Inn, on Glasgow’s Great Western Road; 1901 on Pollokshaws Road; The Wise Monkey, Great Western Road and The Scotch and Rye in Summerston. The company also manages a number of outlets on behalf of various brewers and independent operators. This side of the business has flourished over the last nine months, with another six outlets being added to a burgeoning portfolio.

Managing Director Graham Sutherland says, “We are creating new business from operations that have closed down. We have a management company that will take in a new site from an administrator or liquidator and turn it around so that they can then become part of our permanent stock or can be sold on to other owners. We opened three new outlets at the end of 2011 – The Fox & Ferret in Hamilton reopened following extensive renovation of the former Amigo’s Bar and Restaurant; The Dog & Duck in Cambuslang and the Rat & Parrot in Bishopbriggs.

Our aim is to open up a series of new outlets for these three new brands in provincial towns throughout Scotland’s central belt where major pub operators do not presently have a presence. We invested around £50,000 in these pubs and created about 20 new jobs. This signifies our confidence that there is scope for major growth within parts of Scotland currently not being served with an adequate quality food and drink offering at sensible prices.”

Currently nine of the company’s 21 sites offer food, ranging from a simple budget menu up to full gastro pub bar and grill offerings, for example at the 1901. At the Fox & Ferret on Townhead Street, Hamilton, which opened on October 27th 2011, the site has been extensively renovated and totally rebranded, making way for a new drinking venue and restaurant. As well as creating opportunities for bar staff, the Fox & Ferret also provided a number of chef jobs and front-of-house positions.

Looking to the future, Graham adds, “At present, we operate in the outskirts of Glasgow and in Western Scotland but over the next 12 months, we are looking to widen our scope across the UK. Obviously, though, for practical reasons, any new managed, permanent premises would be situated nearer to the Border.

We believe that we offer a unique service, both to the pub trade and to our customers by turning around closed or liquidated premises and making them into pleasant drinking and eating venues, particularly in areas neglected by some of the bigger companies. Given the market opportunities arising from the current economic climate, we are convinced that the time is now right for us to embark on this ambitious expansion programme.”

For further information please telephone 0141 954 3580.

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