Three Cheers Pub Co has taken on its eighth site with the acquisition of the lease of the Bedford, Balham, from hospitality entrepreneurs Karl Harrison and Scott Illman.
Co-founder Tom Peake told MCA that the group intended to trade the site as it stands for the rest of the year before a full refurbishment of the 24,000sq ft pub. The work is likely to include the addition of accommodation and converting space to host weddings – both key areas for investment in the rest of the estate, Peake said.
It has been three years since the last acquisition by Three Cheers – which was previously known as Renaissance Pubs. Peake said the group was keen to expand quicker but would not rush into buying pubs for the sake of it.
Peake told MCA: “It’s a hugely exciting project because it’s a glorious old pub and it’s absolutely huge. It is known for its live music and comedy and that will absolutely remain at the core of the offer.
“We will take our time to decide what to do with the rest of the site. Hotel rooms are very likely to play a part. We have gained a lot of experience in doing weddings now – we do about 60 a year at the Rosendale (in Dulwich), so we would like to focus on events at the Bedford.”
On future expansion, Peake said: “It’s been three years between pubs and of course we would like to grow faster but we would rather take our time to get something with the wow factor of the Bedford rather than rush into a mistake.”
Harrison, who has owned The Bedford since 2004, said: “It’s been a huge privilege and a responsibility to be part of The Bedford. Making the decision to leave hasn’t been easy but as I currently reside in Vancouver we felt that the time was right.
“We wanted the new owners to be people that understood pubs, had a connection to Balham and really grasped what The Bedford is about. Tom, Mark and Nick are the perfect fit and I’m delighted they will be taking The Bedford forward.“
In the group’s latest available financial figures – to 31 March – turnover grew 8% to £10.7m, with pre-tax profits almost doubling to £1.3m.
Peake said trading in the most recent financial year had continued to be positive.
Three Cheers Pub Co was formed in 2003 by Peake, Nick Fox and Mark Reynolds.
The rest of the portfolio comprises The Abbeville, The Avalon and The Stonhouse in Clapham, The Bolingbroke and The Latchmere in Battersea, The Tommyfield in Kennington and The Rosendale in Dulwich.
Davis Coffer Lyons is understood to have acted on the Bedford deal.