Las Iguanas, the Latin-themed restaurant business, has acquired a site in London’s Soho with an extended licence, as part of plans to open seven new outlets this year. The group purchased the lease of a former bar located on Dean Street, which comprises a 4,100sqft ground floor and a 2,700sq ft basement. The company managed to persuade Westminster City Council to extend the licence of the new premises by an additional hour to 12.30am, based on the fact that it would trade as a restaurant instead of a vertical drinking venue. Anthony Alder of AG&G, who handled the deal, said: “Whilst normally Westminster City Council have a near blanket ban on extending licensing hours, in this case Las Iguanas were able to persuade the licensing authorities of the benefits of non-vertical drinking and, trading as a restaurant, the application was successful and an additional hour was permitted to the premises licence. “The attractiveness of the later licence was reflected in the premium paid and this again demonstrates the two-tier market in Soho, with those units with a later licence being able to command higher premiums.” Las Iguanas, which currently has 15 sites, is set to open restaurants in Thurrock, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Manchester and two more in London. The group, which is led by Eren Ali and backed by Bowmark Capital, plans to expand its portfolio to 40 sites in the next three years.