Corney & Barrow sells bar to SSP to focus on City

cabin_9155Corney & Barrow Bars is to return to its focus on the City of London and Docklands after a strategic review under new managing director Ed Gardner.

It has sold the Cabin bar that it opened at Waterloo station in summer last year, which heralded a new concept combining a contemporary feel with a luxury and “mystique” inspired by the Orient-Express.

The bar’s new owner is SSP UK, the leading operator of bars, cafés, pubs and restaurants in railway stations and airports. Lucy Knowles, the former managing director of Corney & Barrow Bars, joined SSP UK in May as chief marketing officer to drive the premium bar sector of the business.

Ed Gardner, who took over as managing director of Corney & Barrow Bars in May, said: “The new executive team at C&B Bars has recently completed a strategic review of the company’s bar estate. This has resulted in a decision to terminate C&B’s interest in Cabin at Waterloo Station.

“Our priority going forward is to consolidate and build on our pre-eminent position within the Square Mile and Canary Wharf.

“We have a number of key investment plans for the City estate and this realignment of resources will enable us to focus on our core strengths as the economy and trading conditions around us improve. No other disposals are contemplated at this time.”

For SSP UK, the acquisition of Cabin adds to its growing portfolio of premium bars, such as The Merchant at Liverpool Street in London and The Grain Loft at Manchester Airport.

Mark Angela, chief executive of SSP UK & Ireland, said: “Bars and pubs form a key part of our strategy as we focus on upgrading our estate and introducing premium offers as part of the mix.

“We will continue to invest and bring innovation to this sector to ensure we continue to deliver an exceptional experience for customers. We have invested in the team to do this.”

Alongside operations director Barry Gifford, the team not only includes Lucy but also Natalia Di Palma, the former marketing manager at bar operator Drake & Morgan who has joined SSP UK as brand manager for its bars.

At the time of its launch, Cabin featured the first-ever self-service wine machine to be installed at a major train station.

The menu features a good choice of premium food and drink, with an emphasis on British tapas-style dishes for enjoying with Martini cocktails, exclusive ales and fine wines.

Customers can take advantage of a take-out menu of coffee, muffins, wine and made-to-order picnic hampers, featuring cured meats, speciality cheeses and freshly baked bread.

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