Bass joins the rush to the themed bar

Bass has joined Whitbread and Rank in the rush by Britain's large leisure companies to buy up the booming themed bar and restaurant sector. It has emerged that Bass made a unsuccessful bid to buy the Pitcher & Piano chain of bars earlier this year but lost out to Marston, Thompson & Evershed. Marston secured the seven outlets for pounds 20m in June.

Bass had wanted to convert the chain to its fast-growing All Bar One format and introduce its own management. The bid failed because the Marstons offer was higher and allowed the existing Pitcher & Piano management, including founder Crispin Tweddell, to remain on board.

Bass declined to comment on any approach for the chain but said it was committed to the rapid expansion of All Bar One, which currently has 15 outlets. "We're looking for good sites in London, the South-east and the suburbs," the company said.

The Bass move is further evidence that brewing and leisure groups are prepared to pay fancy prices for themed pubs and restaurants rather than develop their own sites.

Other recent deals have seen Whitbread buy the Cafe Rouge group Pelican, Greene King buy The Magic Pub company and Rank acquire the Tom Cobleigh pub chain.

Speculation has turned to other targets for Bass, which could include pub groups Regent Inns and JD Wetherspoon and restaurant chains Harry Ramsden's and Pizza Express.

All Bar One is a similar concept to the Pitcher & Piano. Both are bright and modern bars aimed at young, trendy drinkers. They also have a high level of food sales. The first All Bar One opened in 1994 in Sutton, Surrey. Most are in London and the South-east though there are outlets in Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham.

The Pitcher & Piano deal would have given Bass a short-cut to expansion. It could switch targets and buy a different chain though these are now trading on exorbitant ratings. The alternative is to find suitable sites for conversion from its existing pubs.

Though Bass has a huge chain of pubs, the brewer needs high street sites in the South-east for the All Bar One outlets and this is an area where Bass is under-represented. "We are looking almost exclusively for new sites rather than conversions," Bass said. Bass is also growing its Fork & Pitcher group of traditional village pubs. There are now over 40 with the number expected to double by the end of the year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Advisor is r...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

SThree: HR Benefits Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum + pro rata: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003