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Whelans takes on 7th Star Pubs & Bars site

South East multiple operator, Whelans has taken on The Goat in Shirley and is to reopen it as The Apple Tree at the end of October following a joint investment with Star Pubs & Bars of over £500k.

The pub, which has been closed for two years, is to become a premium neighbourhood local introducing home cooked food, barista style coffee, live music and sports and the high levels of service associated with Whelans’ other operations.

The Apple Tree brings the number of pubs within the Whelans portfolio to ten, which includes five Whelans, the company’s top end Irish pub brand, (the latest a freehold which recently opened in Brighton), The Elm Tree, in Elmers Green, The Foundry in Chichester, and The Black Bull Ruislip. Seven of these sites are with Star Pubs & Bars.

Austin Whelan said, “In the next five years we plan to grow our estate to 20 pubs – a mix of Whelans branded pubs and premium local community sites. It takes two years to establish a brand and we’re on target, trading above expectation. We’ve got some really good strong venues and have an offer which resonates – sports daily, fantastic live entertainment and good quality food and drinks.

'In addition to more sites in the South East, we’re looking to take on pubs in prime locations in Manchester and Birmingham. My relationship with Star is very good. They have been very supportive of me, so I look forward to working with them as I grow my business further.”

The Apple Tree’s look and feel will be modern urban featuring a mix of exposed brick walls and feature wallpaper, reclaimed wooden flooring and sumptuous leather sofas.
Currently a shell, a new floor, ceiling and bar with bi-fold doors are being installed to brighten the interior and create an inside/outside feel.

The light and airy pub will seat 100 and have a designated dining are as well as a raised floor for live music performances. Nine high definition TVs will ensure plenty of visibility for customers wanting to watch live sports.

A fantastic garden is being created at the front with new planting around the perimeter, pergolas and seating for 70-80 for alfresco eating and drinking.

Whelan added, “The area has changed in the last few years and The Apple Tree is changing with it. The community is crying out for a great neighbourhood pub and I intend to deliver that.

Dugald Macer, Regional Operations Director for Star Pubs & Bars, said, “Austin and his team have high standards and a real understanding of what makes a pub the hub of the community.

'There is no other pub within half a mile of The Apple Tree, which means residents will have on their doorstep what they had to travel for previously. With Austin’s knowledge of the area, high standards and vision, I feel sure he’ll create another great local and we’re delighted to help him do so.”