Independent neighbourhood bar group Darwin & Wallace has secured its seventh site, in the Dicken’s Yard development in Ealing, and has hinted of more to come in 2019.

Mel Marriot managing director at Darwin & Wallace told MCA: “We have always said we will grow steadily, as and when the right opportunities come along, and not for grow for growth’s sake.

“There will certainly be more to come next year, although I couldn’t say where that might be. As it’s happened we are predominately in west and south west London but there is no reason why we couldn’t operate in any London village. It’s really about finding the right location,” she said.

Marriott said the over the past 12-18 months, the business has strengthened its senior team to give it a good foundation for growth.

Jessica Closs has moved from her role as operations manager to the newly created position of brand manager, and Javier Ruiz-Moreno has replaced Closs in the ops manager role. He was previously ops manager at Bone Daddies. These moves follow the appointment of Polly Barnes as operations director in March last year, from Gail’s Bakery.

In addition, finance director Paul Trimmer, who had split his time between Darwin & Wallace and Camm and Hooper, has recently been brought into the business full time.

“I am really fortunate that we have a really strong team which could potentially double the size of our estate, in however long it takes us – we have certainly got the talent and the ability to do that,” added Marriott.

The new ‘standalone’ Ealing site, which is due to open this winter, will feature an all-day, casual drinks and dining menu, with locally sourced and sustainable food, in keeping with its existing estate.

Each bar is designed to fit with the local area, and the Ealing site will feature in a bold, modern style – resonant of an urban, European loft apartment – with generous lounge furnishings, oak sharing tables and dark interior features.

“It’s an interesting new build for us, with two storeys, outside space at the front and then a wraparound balcony on the first floor,” she added. “We will be able to create a nice soft look with seating and planting outside.”

She said a name had not been decided on yet, but that it would follow the same pattern as other Darwin & Wallace sites and would be based on the address.

The group’s portfolio consists of pubs in Chelsea, Clapham, Richmond, Chiswick, Battersea and its most recent addition in Wimbledon this year, which Marriott said was trading way beyond expectations.