New MD set to lead London Cocktail Club expansion

Nightcap plc, the hospitality group formed by investors Sarah Willingham and Michael Toxvaerd to back the UK premium bar sector, has appointed a new Managing Director to lead the growth of its London Cocktail Club (LCC) business, acquired earlier this year.

Dawn Donohoe (pictured right) joins from Enhanced Hospitality, a food and entertainment-led business that operates several venues situated in London’s Camden Market including Dingwalls and Shaka Zulu, as well as Blacks private members club in Soho and sister company, We Are Bar.

Donohoe was an original senior team member at Urbium/Novus that launched its expansion across the West End and UK roll out. She brings more than 20 years’ hospitality experience running premium bars and nightclubs as well as pub and restaurant brands, private members clubs and international franchises.

Donohoe replaces Michelle Hall, who is leaving LCC after six years to pursue other opportunities and is relocating abroad.

One of the key priorities for the group is to build a pipeline of new sites in prime locations for LCC both in and outside of its London heartland. To this end, Nightcap is currently in negotiations on several new leases as a first step to meet its ambition of expanding from the current 10 locations to approximately 40 over the next five years.

Sarah Willingham, CEO of Nightcap, (pictured left) said, “All of us at Nightcap are thrilled to have appointed someone of Dawn’s calibre and talent to drive the growth of London Cocktail Club. She has helped to launch and run a number of fantastic businesses over the years and has an unmatched track record in the late-night sector.

'Myself and the rest of the management team very much look forward to working with her as the industry emerges from the challenges of the past year.

“While it’s sad to see Michelle leave, we have loved working with her and she leaves behind an incredible business and very happy team thanks to her work over the years. We wish her all the best in her move abroad and the new adventures that this will bring.”

Donohoe added, “I’m thrilled to be joining the team at LCC. It’s a fantastic brand that I’ve admired for many years and I’m excited to be able to bring my love of the late-night sector and extensive management experience to the Nightcap team. Together we have ambitious plans to rejuvenate and reimagine the on-trade for the future.”

The news follows a £10m fundraising last month by Nightcap to further its investment strategy and to roll-out its latest acquisition, Adventure Bar Group (ABG). The raise further strengthens Nightcap’s strategy to invest in the premium bar sector through acquisition.

The total figure raised is significantly higher than originally planned owing to strong demand for the shares from existing shareholders and several new institutions, and a major endorsement of the premium bar and wider hospitality sector as it emerges from the pandemic.