Intertain is to open its first new Walkabout bar in six years after exchanging contracts on a site in Brighton.
The group, which operates 21 bars branded as Walkabout around the country, is due to complete on the premises of sports bar and nightclub Bedrock in West Street, close to the seafront, on March 31.
After trading as Bedrock for a few weeks, Intertain will close it and spend £600,000 on refurbishing the 850-capacity venue, creating 20 new permanent bar, kitchen and management jobs.
It is due to launch in the summer, bringing a new generation of the concept back to a site that traded as Walkabout until five years ago. Pictured above and below are computer-generated images of how it will look.
The acquisition follows last week’s announcement that Intertain had completed a restructuring of its main debt facilities, which included the granting of new long-term funding arrangements.
Better Capital has provided a new five-year funding facility to the group which will be used to fund the refurbishment programme in its core venues and expansion of the estate.
Intertain chief executive John Leslie said: “This is a landmark moment for Intertain, and we’re very excited about this opportunity. The funding platform we now have enables us to build a pipeline for the future.
“Walkabout is a strong brand with great potential for growth. We are not represented in many of the key towns and cities in the UK, but this new facility will allow us to look for opportunities to grow the business.”
The new Brighton Walkabout will be home to the “Reef Bar” for the main bar area, where linked screens will show undersea and beach footage, evoking a “Great Barrier Reef-like” paradise.
It will have a variety of pre-bookable booths and private areas for parties, meals, club nights and live music, along with plush VIP areas and a state-of-the-art sound and light system.
Pre-bookable front row seats will be available for all major televised live sports events which will be shown on giant new projection screens, and multiple HD TVs, building on Walkabout’s reputation as a destination for live sports on the high street.
The venue will have a high focus on food, offering customers light bites, main meals, sharing dishes and party plates. This will be combined with a drinks menu that includes wines, beers and cocktails inspired by the character and beauty of Australia.
John added: “This is a great location and we are very happy to be going back into Brighton with our new-style Walkabout, after an absence of over five years.”
Created over 20 years ago, Walkabout bars were taken over by Intertain in 2009. Control of Intertain was sold to Better Capital to inject more money into the business last year.