Punch Taverns to open its sixth sports bar under Champs name

Champs Ilford

National leased pub operator Punch Taverns has announced plans to invest £430,000 to create its first Champs sports bar and grill in the south of England.

In a joint investment with partner Jat Bhardwa, Punch will transform the former Maguire’s site in Ilford in north-east London into a premium sports bar with an American theme. It will be the first in the south but its sixth in the UK.

Punch bought the name of the popular Champs sports bar in Sheffield’s Ecclesall Road from Thornbridge Brewery. That site has now been turned into a real ale bar and restaurant by its new owner BrewKitchen.

The new Champs in Chapel Road, Ilford, will have 11 HD TV screens showing wall-to-wall sports matches together with seating booths with individual TVs. It will employ 30 people.

It will have a grill menu specialising in ribs and burgers and also feature regular entertainment on Friday and Saturday night with its resident DJ on the decks.

Champs Ilford is the sixth concept in the UK operated in partnership with Punch Taverns. It will reopen on June 25 after a five-week investment.

Jat said: “I’m a mad football fan. Over the years, I’ve played for local teams and I’ve always owned or operated bars, so this is a perfect match for me. With Champs, I get to create a fantastic, premium sports bar whilst watching all my favourite matches.

“It’s great to team up with Punch who are offering me a raft of support to make sure that it’s a winning concept.”

Jat, aged 34, has been running bars since he was 18 years old, initially for his father who was in the trade. He also owns and operates former Punch pub The Rising Sun in Ilford. Before that, he owned the freehold of The Earl of Wakefield in Forest Gate in east London.

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