McKever Hotels, the independent hotel group, is to launch a bar and restaurant division, after announcing it will open its first bar in Kilmarnock next month. The group, which currently operates nine hotels in Scotland and the north of England, plans to invest £1m renovating and restoring the old Bank of Scotland building in the town’s Bank Street into a “sophisticated, contemporary bar”. Opening in early October, the bar, which has been named September 31, will be the first to open under the McKever banner, with the company planning to launch further venues throughout Scotland in the near future. Sean Craig, sales and operations director at McKever Hotel said: “September 31 is a major venture for the McKever Group and is set to be a fantastic offering for Kilmarnock. “It is an exciting time for the company as we take our first steps into the bar industry and we are confident that this venue will be the first of many quality bars from the McKever Group, throughout Scotland.” The 4,000sq ft venue will incorporate a main bar with a 150 to 200 person capacity, beer garden, island bar, conservatory and mezzanine level. The company said it has brought in audiovisual experts from the USA to kit out the bar in the latest technology, which will include daily changing “digital menus” displayed on plasma screens to a TV tower systems of over 30 monitors that can be individually controlled by customers.