Spirit Group, Punch’s managed division, has reopened its flagship pub on London’s Bankside, the Anchor, after a £1.6m investment, writes Paul Charity. The company closed the pub, believed to be its most profitable single site, for seven weeks to develop it. The Anchor sits on the south bank of the Thames near the Globe Theatre and the tourist hotspots of Southwark including Borough Market — Punch owns the freehold as it does with the rest of its 120 pubs in London. Spirit has boosted the range of offers with the introduction of improved bar areas, a tea room, takeaway ice cream, breakfast area, an improved roof garden with a barbecue area and a top-class takeaway fish and chip offer. The new fish and chip offer, which has a £40,000 state-of-the art frying range that self-filtrates and uses beef dripping, saw 1,500 portions sold in the first week, boosting takings by an estimated £12,000 a week. The revamped offer at the Anchor is expected to lift site takings by £20,000 to £30,000 a week to as much as £80,000. The £1.6m investment in the venue, which has a co-located Premier Inn, is the first major capital investment since 1999 when it was owned by Greenalls. Among the other innovations at the site is the introduction of super-fast beer dispense which reduces the time to pour a pint from 25 to 14 seconds. The Anchor, which was part of the Scottish & Newcastle Retail estate acquired by Spirit when it was under private equity ownership, is believed to be one of the most valuable pubs in the UK. One property expert estimates that the site is worth around £14m, but could be worth several million pounds more if the Spirit investment produces the expected increase in operating profit.