Amber Taverns is to open three new sites this month as it looks to expand its community, wet-led pub offering.

The business, which operates 165 pubs throughout the North East, North West, Midlands, Wales and Scotland, is opening sites in Cheshire, Country Durham and Ayrshire in June.

The Leopard in Chester opened this week in a former Bonmarche retail store in Foregate Street in the city centre. This will be followed by The Water House in Durham – a former JD Wetherspoon pub, and The Northern Way in Irvine – a former sports bar.

The business is currently averaging 14-16 new site openings per year, and has “got the infrastructure to go faster and keep growing”, chief executive James Baer told MCA last month.

Amber, which operates a hybrid operator-managed estate, said it had an encouraging pipeline, with a variety of good new site opportunities, and was consistently achieving achieved historic high returns of +20% on new freehold acquisitions.

It has lots of target towns within its existing geography to continue to expand its geographic footprint with well invested pubs at the heart of their communities with broad appeal across the UK.

Commenting on the new openings, Baer said: “These three new pub openings demonstrate our continued conviction in the Amber model of a well-designed, contemporary pub with broad demographic appeal, which offers a good quality customer experience in a vibrant and comfortable setting at reasonable prices.

“Interestingly, the three freehold properties derive from different sources – one former retail site, a private operator and a large national chain - all of which demonstrate our ability to identify opportunities and carry out good quality refurbishments which enable us to keep growing the business, underpinning the enduring appeal of a high quality, local community pub thriving at the heart of the communities they serve.”