Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the managed pub and casual dining group, is to open its first Browns Brasserie in more than half a decade after deciding it wants to treble the size of the brand to 50 sites, writes Paul Charity. M&B will convert a town pub from the estate, the stunning Athenaeum in Manchester’s Spring Gardens, in November. It currently operates 14 Browns sites, including six in London. The company bought the brand in 1998 from private owners, but has not opened a new site since around 2004 when a Browns was launched at Butler’s Wharf in London. Sources indicate that M&B would like to add 35 sites to the Browns brand to get to 50 sites and around 25 new sites to the All Bar One brand. It is understood that Sapient Corporate Finance is currently marketing around 300 wet-led pubs — further news on the company’s disposal success here is expected in mid-autumn. There is also speculation that M&B will seek to sell its 65 franchise pubs in a block after spending two months allowing franchisees the chance to buy their pubs. M&B’s six drive brands are Harvester, Toby Carvery, Crown Carveries, Sizzling Pub Co, Premium Country Dining and Vintage Inns and the plan is to double their numbers to around 1,900 pubs in under five years.