Be At One expands with first bar outside London

The Be At One bar group is continuing its expansion with two new bars including its first outside of London.

It has taken over Sahara Bar in Reading, which has been a leading bar on the UK’s cocktail scene for nearly 10 years, and is due to relaunch it in March as Be At One.

Many of the staff at Sahara will remain with the business and receive extra training from the new owners. Be At One bars offer a 160-strong menu of cocktails.

Several award-winning bartenders work at Sahara including general manager Daniel Bovey who was one of the three “most promising” winners in the Bacardi Legacy competition in 2012. Other regular competition winners from the bar include assistant general manager Rich Williams, Ash Bovey and Dean MacGregor.

The 14-strong Be At One group has also acquired a second site in London’s Smithfield, planning to transform the former Fluid Bar in Charterhouse Street.

In a deal brokered by Restaurant Property, it is paying a rent of £50,000 per year and an undisclosed premium on a 10-year lease.

Restaurant Property partner Jason Grant, who acted for Be At One, said: “This is the second site we have acquired for Be At One, the other being the Be At One Kitchen on Gresham Street in the City. Be At One now have more than a dozen sites but have an ambitious programme to acquire up to 30 sites following an £8million investment from private equity group Piper.”

Steve Bagatti, founding partner of Selsian which acted for Fluid Bar, said: “Smithfield has always had a great buzz but it has become even more attractive because of its transport links. When Farringdon station improvements are completed, it will be the only interchange where passengers will be able to access Thameslink, Crossrail and London Underground services and be served by 140 trains per hour.”

The group has also taken over the site of Wax Jambu in Upper Street, Islington, which has closed after four years, and will relaunch it as Be At One in March.

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