McMullen is to continue phasing out its Baroosh cocktail bar concept, with the doors to close on its Fore Street site in Hertford next week ready for redevelopment.
Joint managing director, Heydon Mizon, told MCA the Hertfordshire site would be rebranded as The Practitioner, with the décor to be themed around the medical practice that was located in the building during the Victorian era. It will also feature a refreshed cocktail, drinks and food offer.
Mizon said the bar – its first Baroosh, opening in 2000 – “was due development”. “We liked the idea of changing it because it felt a little bit 90s, and the name Baroosh didn’t suit the new style, but it will still be a very similar offer with cocktails, open till late, and a food offer during the day”.
It is the second Baroosh high street bar to be rebranded, with the first reopening as The Bootmaker, in Chelmsford, in August last year, which taps into the building’s former use as a cobbler’s. “That site has been doing really well which is why we are now moving on to Hertford,” he said. “We’ll then look at the other sites as and when they are due refurbishment and decide what to do with them.”
Mizon said it was important to redevelop the sites to make them more relevant to their location. “If we had ever got to the stage where we had 20 to 30 Baroosh sites, then there would be more equity in the name, but we never got beyond six, as we haven’t been able to find the right sites quickly enough, so there is no need to keep them all branded the same.”
The pub operator and brewer has now gained planning consent for a new build pub in Biggleswade, which Mizon said it plans to open before Christmas and will join its Chicken & Grill portfolio. Meanwhile the business is in the final stages of the planning process for a new build site in Cambourne, which it expects to open in 2019.
Mizon added that its latest opening, The Prince Louis in Great Notley, Essex, was trading well above expectations.
Last autumn the group took back the lease of The White Swan, near Vauxhall Bridge, from Greene King, with the pub now closed for redevelopment and due to open at the end of June.
On the brewing side, Mizon said: “We have been producing some interesting kegged beers and small batch production brews for our larger sites, and have finally managed to get our vintage steam dray, The Sentinel, back on the road, which has been updated with the addition of a mobile bar.”