Mick Horan, former operations director for Ha Ha Bar & Grill and the Living Room, has told M&C Report he hopes to open at least three sites in the next 12 months, as he opens his first outlet under a student-friendly concept called Study Room.
Horan has taken a Punch lease on the Nags Head in Lancaster, which is to receive a £450,000 investment and re-open under the new concept in late April.
The venue will serve craft beer, cocktails, and serve fresh food from some local suppliers. The refurbishment will see the addition of “stylish” furnishings and a “premium service” is promised.
Horan told M&C Report: “The goal for me is to have at least three sites in the next 12 months, then I can look at settling that down and moving it forward.
“I’ve already got other sites in mind in other cities where I’d like to either look at doing more Study Rooms, or I’d look at developing similar products to that.”
He said he may look at other pub companies for Punch for future opening. “That said, I’m loyal; Punch have been good to me so far, they’re already talking to me about other locations.”
Horan, whose other roles have included operations director at the Youth Hostel Association, said he’s not aiming to create a student bar with Study Room.
“The research I’ve done, particularly in Lancaster, says there’s been a big student element that looks for and enjoys a premium experience when it comes to eating and drinking.
“I believe there’s a big movement now away from value drinking and a cheap experiences for students, and most people in general. They are more discerning, they’re looking for more quality, great service, great surrounds, friendliness, safety, acknowledgement; all the things that I believe have been lacking recently in our industry.”
Punch Taverns’ partnership development manager Andy Stones said: “It’s great that Punch can invest in their portfolio and we essentially want to reposition the Study Room as one of the leading bars that can provide great drinks and quality dining for residents and students in Lancaster and the surrounding areas.”