Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen

The Vagabond sites at Gatwick Airport acquired by Airport Retail Enterprises (ARE) UK in a pre-pack administration will be converted to new brands under their new ownership.

ARE will be converting the main Vagabond unit to a Big Smoke Taphouse & Kitchen, which is the same concept ARE operates at Heathrow T2 and Luton. This is due to reopen later this month.

The smaller South Downs island bar did not close for refurbishment and is trading as South Downs temporarily, with a limited food offer for the time being.

At the end of this month, ARE will be rebranding it to Small Batch Social - showcasing premium spirits from local small batch suppliers, sparkling wines and a range of premium sandwiches, bar snacks and light meals.

ARE’s business in Australia was recently acquired by SSP, but ARE UK remains completely separate from SSP.

Business advisory firm Quantuma completed the sale of the remaining operations of Vagabond Wines Limited, in a deal which secured the ongoing employment of all 122 staff across the two sites.

Quantuma managing directors, Andrew Andronikou and Brian Burke, were appointed as joint administrators of Vagabond Wines on 15 March 2024 and traded the business which operated from twelve sites across London, the Southeast and Birmingham whilst they negotiated a sale.

The sale of nine Vagabond sites to Majestic Wines was completed on 2 April 2024.