Simmons, the nine-strong London-based bar group, is to further strengthen its presence in the capital with three new openings, MCA has learnt.
The company, which is led by Nick Campbell, will open its tenth site next week after acquiring The Well in Clerkenwell, the debut site of the ETM Group. It has further openings lined up in Balham and Temple.
ETM said that the decision to sell the Well after 17 years of strong trading was taken as part of a strategic overview of the business that also included strengthening the head office team to pave the way for future expansion.
In the last five months, ETM opened Aviary on the tenth floor of the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel in Finsbury Square and Greenwood, a pub and premium sports lounge in Victoria’s Nova development. Three additional sites are planned to open in the next 12 months.
Tom Martin, co-founder of ETM, told MCA: “The Well has always traded successfully and particularly in the last 18 months, but the pub no longer fits within our portfolio as we focus on larger bars, restaurants and brewery pubs. We have thoroughly enjoyed running The Well and, as our first site all those years ago, have many fond memories.”
At the end of last year, Campbell told MCA that Simmons was looking to complete on four more sites in 2017, including its first outside the capital.
Campbell said the new sites would have the same décor and theme as previous Simmons bars as they were easy to replicate, with one in Brighton understood to be a large venue with a late license in the city’s Lanes area.
He told MCA he would like to take the group up to more than 25 in two or three years’ time, and would look to major UK cities such as Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bristol for growth as well as seeking more in London.
Campbell, who has grown the group from scatch in two years without any investment, said he would to go as far as possible without funding, and may look to develop an additional concept once the group gets to a certain size.