Adventure Bar Group expects “a large part” of its future pipeline to be outside London, co-founder Tobias Jackson has told MCA.

The experiential cocktail bar operator is opening outside the capital for the first time this month, with two news sites in Birmingham, as it looks to expand its refocused operations nationwide.

It is to open a new outdoor bar and dining concept called Luna Springs in Birmingham’s Digbeth area today (12 April), followed by a second Tonight Josephine venue on 17 May.

Jackson told MCA that pre-pandemic the group had been very happy staying in London, “but the last year really has taught us that life is short and we could take a few more risks”. “We will be a lot bolder in leaving London,” he said. Jackson said there were many big cities and big towns that could provide opportunities to grow.

The group currently operates a number of individual concepts, including Bar Elba, The Escapologist and Blame Gloria. Jackson said that the flexibility of operating several concepts meant the group could secure the best sites it could find and then work out what kind of concepts would work best.

“I think our priority will be towards expanding through Tonight Josephine primarily, but also rooftop bars and Blame Gloria,” he added.

ABG_TJ Birmingham

He explained that the group had been forced to pivot hugely just to stay in business, and had gone from operating late-night, wet-led bars in London, to opening up a daytime offering including events, brunches and entertainment.

Jackson said you can get any experience you want in London but Birmingham was still up and coming and had lots of potential. He spent lockdown two visiting different areas around the UK to scope out what opportunities were available and discovered the Digbeth site with development plans quickly put into place, he said.

Luna Springs is set to become Birmingham’s largest outdoor bar and entertainment space, with food offerings to come from the likes of The English Indian, Handmade Pizza, Happy Patty Burgers and, from the end of April, Mother Clucker. While it will initially open with capacity for 400 guests, the group expects to be able to accommodate around 1,500 when it can open fully.

The 350-capacity Tonight Josephine venue was due to open on Stephenson Street, next to Grand Central station in November, but opening plans had to be put on hold when England went into lockdown.

Commenting on the impact of the pandemic on property price and availability, Jackson said there were “more opportunities out there than expected”, and that they were “definitely cheaper” as sites are being returned to landlords. He also expects further supply in the market when the rent moratorium ends.

The two new Birmingham sites will take Adventure Bar Group’s estate to 12.