Late-night sector veteran and former Eclectic Bar Group chief executive Reuben Harley is heading up a new nightclub business, MCA has learnt.

Harley has launched the Astoria Group with the acquisition of four sites Real Estate Leisure Enterprise Ltd, the group led by Chase McGuinness, former owner of Leicester Square’s Rise Superclub. His fellow director is corporate finance specialist Alexi Margo.

MCA understands the four venues being operated by Harley are Six Degrees in Crawley (formerly JJ Whispers) and Bar Thirteen in Guildford (ex-Bar Med), as well as two businesses on the former Cameo site in Watford - Twisted Monkey and Hydeout bar.

Harley stepped down from Eclectic in May, following the diversification of the business into the ownership of Brighton Pier.

He told MCA at the time that he wanted to concentrate on other ventures, including his gastropub, The Woodman in Battersea.

He said he still had faith in the late-night sector, adding: “People will always want to dance and they will always want social spaces. Attitudes to alcohol and how they socialise may change but there will always be a market there.

“It’s all about the experience and that will become increasingly important. People like Inception Group are great at that. They give their customers a true experience, they create a world that people can’t find anywhere else. Customers are increasingly demanding that.”