London pub operator Andy Bird has taken on two new sites as he plots an aggressive expansions next year, MCA has learnt.

Bird has leased The Dartmouth Arms in Forest Hill as well as the Top of the Morning pub in Victoria Park and plans extensive refurbishment before reopening in January and April 2017 respectively.

Bird, who also co-founded and co-own award winning cocktail bar Happiness Forgets in Hoxton, hopes to take on another four sites next year and will look at finance options.

He already owns Fanny Nelson’s and The Chesham Arms in Hackney, which was CAMRA’s East London and City Pub of the Year 2016.

Bird said: “At The Dartmouth we’re doing a rebuild, taking it back to its former glory, which the locals are very excited about it. It will be a classic traditional London pub, modernised slightly, with good food, local beer and natural wine.

“I’m looking to aggressively expand during the first part of next year with new sites and finance options. I’m looking at leaseholds and freeholds on sites that need modernising.

“I want to prove the traditional pub model still works and be a champion for pubs that have been left behind or that developers have implied can’t work.”

Bird has won the support of local residents for his improvements and commits to working with local suppliers and paying the living wage.

International real estate advisor Savills, acting on behalf of Kicking Horse Ltd, let the Dartmouth Arms.

The end of terrace public house fronts on to York Rise and sits within the Dartmouth Park Conservation Area, which is east of Parliament Hill and is arranged over ground floor and basement with an approximate gross internal area of 2,267 sq ft (210 sq m).

The quoting rent was £70,000 per annum.

Chris Bickle, licensed leisure director at Savills, said: “Demand for free-of-tie leases remains very strong, particularly in sought after London neighbourhoods like Dartmouth Park and Highgate where Savills recently sold The Bull to Gorgeous Pubs.”

Bird is considering a crowdfunding initiative at the Dartmouth that would allow local people to directly invest in the business.

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