Darwin & Wallace begins expansion with second site

frog claphamBar group Darwin & Wallace has announced the acquisition of its second site as part of plans to create a portfolio of casual bar dining destinations around London.

It has taken over The Frog in Clapham in south London, formerly The Frog & Forget Me Not, from operator Livelyhood Venues and plans to refurbish and relaunch it under a new name.

The deal follows the opening in March last year of Darwin & Wallace’s first bar-restaurant, No 11 Pimlico Road, in the former site of The Ebury in Pimlico.

Darwin & Wallace has joined forces with designer Lou Davies from Box-9 Designs whose previous projects include award-winning London bar The Riding House Cafe. The Frog is due to be refurbished and reopened by spring.

Darwin & Wallace was set up in 2012 by managing director Melanie Marriott with backing from The Imbiba Partnership which specialises in investing in and developing pub and bar businesses. Its other investments currently include Camm & Hooper which operates Tanner & Co in Bermondsey, London.

Melanie said: “The Darwin and Wallace team are all incredibly excited to have acquired this iconic new site in the heart of Clapham Old Town.

“We’re looking forward to evolving the space with an imaginative design which will capture the spirit of the area and the people within it.”

The new-look bar will offer an “all-day casual bar dining experience” with “an emphasis on interior aesthetics, a wide-ranging drinks offer including great beers, first-rate service and an accessible home-away-from home feel”. The site includes a roof terrace looking out over Clapham Common.

Darwin & Wallace aims to expand with further sites between 5,000 square feet to 7,000 square feet, predominantly in affluent London “villages” including Chiswick, Chelsea, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Soho, Fitzrovia, the West End, Hampstead and Haverstock Hill, Camden, Islington and Shoreditch.

Livelyhood also operates The Clapham North and Four O Nine in Clapham, The Old Frizzle in Wimbledon Broadway and The Regent in Balham. In September last year, it sold the lease of The Royal Oak in Clapham to Stuart Powick, owner of cocktail bar Fifty Five in Camden, north London.

Livelyhood announced today that it plans to buy more sites this year, with the first expected to be added in April for a summer opening.

It has also bought the freehold on The Old Frizzle – the company’s first freehold. The site was, like The Royal Oak, a lease with Enterprise Inns, and both sales were handled through leisure property specialist Davis Coffer Lyons.

Sarah Wall, who heads and owns Livelyhood, said: “Having worked hard over the last three years to restructure the business, this acquisition has realised the first step in our new plan.

“This will see continued growth within south London through the acquisition of both leasehold and freehold sites that can fit the Livelyhood operating model.”

Updated on February 11 with name of property agent involved in The Old Frizzle deal.

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