The Draft House group acquires London’s Grand Union bars

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Grand Union’s six bars across London have been acquired by pub group The Draft House which will convert them into its successful beer and food concept.

The bar operator, founded 11 years ago, operates five sites as Grand Union in Camden, Paddington, Chancery Lane, Farringdon (pictured) and Kennington and one as Trade Union in Wapping. It has been sold for an undisclosed sum.

The deal will bring the size of The Draft House portfolio to 16, with plans already under way to convert Grand Union in Kennington for relaunch on July 31, including an expansive roof terrace equipped with a pergola. The other five sites will be revamped and re-opened by November this year.

The deal, which closed today, also saw Grand Union – originally a group with nine locations – sell three sites it had leased from Young’s in Clapham, Camberwell and Wandsworth back to Young’s last month.

Hospitality entrepreneur Luke Johnson bought a 50% stake in Grand Union in 2013 and became chairman. He is also a backer and chairman of The Draft House which was founded by Charlie McVeigh in 2009.

Adam Marshall, co-founder and CEO of Grand Union, said: “This deal represents a natural evolution in the pub market and I wish Charlie and his team every success with these great London sites.

“I have loved growing and developing Grand Union over the last 11 years and I’d especially like to thank Luke for his personal investment in Grand Union. We have achieved a lot together and I will always be grateful.

“I’d also like to thank the amazing team I’ve been lucky enough to work with over the years. Our success I owe to them and wish all prosperous futures and careers.”

All Grand Union pub staff will keep their roles, and up to 50 new jobs will be created as the sites are developed into Draft Houses. The Draft House group, whose sites include The Birdcage in Columbia Road (pictured below), will now be responsible for a team of 160.

Staff will be able to select their own draught, bottled and canned beers, ensuring each location provides a different offering relevant to its local area, as part of the group’s mission to offer artisanal beer brewed by hundreds of local and international breweries.

Charlie said: “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to acquire a key site in Camden town and five other beautiful pubs in prime central London locations. The deal allows us to take further steps in our mission to bring good food, great beer and real people to pubs across London and the UK.”

Luke added: “Draft House is a terrific business with a strong formula. I am confident Charlie and his team will make these six pubs very successful, offering an extraordinary range of craft beers and refreshing lunches and suppers, helping to slake the country’s thirst and satisfy its hunger.”

The Draft House Birdcage

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