Urban Pubs and Bars aims to double estate as expansion continues

Bosses at Urban Pubs and Bars have said they hope to double the size of the London pub group amid continued strong demand from punters.

The premium pub operator – which runs 42 venues – said it wanted to carry on the momentum from recent expansion, hailing a strong pipeline of potential new openings.

The company last month marked its 10th anniversary, after the group launched with the Whippet pub in Kensal Rise.

The Railway pub in Putney
Urban Pubs and Bars’ sites include The Railway pub in Putney (Urban/PA)

Urban has sped up its growth in more recent years, including through the acquisition of 13 former Barworks venues in 2021.

Malc Heap, co-founder of the group, said it hopes to maintain a strong pace of pub openings in the coming years.

He said: “We’ve got to 42 pubs after some really strong openings over the past few years, doubling us in size.

“And we’re hoping we can do that again over the coming years too.

“Our balance sheet is in a really good position to allow us to move when good opportunities arise and we are really happy with our pipeline.

“Our immediate ambitions are to keep growing. Our performance and growth has been really good for the past two or three years so we are taking a lot of confidence from that and our good management team.”

Earlier this year, the pub group – which is backed by investors Davidson Kempner and Global Mutual – announced earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of £6.4 million for the year to April 30 2023.

This represented an 11% rise on the previous year.

It came as the group revealed that like-for-like sales grew by 17% while turnover rose by almost 60% to £52.2 million on the back of its continued expansion.

The company said it will target more sites in London as part of its growth strategy, amid positive demand from customers in the region.

“London is a competitive market but we will still focus on growth there because it’s a market we know, we are confident in,” Mr Heap said.