Nightcap to open new bar in Bristol with plans for more

Nightcap, the hospitality group formed by investors Sarah Willingham and Michael Toxvaerd, has reported excellent progress in building a significant pipeline of new bar site openings, amid strong trading.

The group, which operates Adventure Bar Group and London Cocktail Club, has secured a new site in Bristol, which it expects to open before the end of the calendar year, and is at various stages of legal negotiations on a further five properties, across several of its brands.

The developments follow the group’s two acquisitions earlier this year and previously announced plans to significantly expand the number of sites Nightcap operates during the next two-to-three years, as the UK economy emerges from the pandemic and the hospitality industry rebuilds.

It also comes amid a strong period of trading for the group, with Nightcap’s bars continuing to perform ahead of management’s expectations since the lifting of operating restrictions on the 19th of July (2021), and at a time when the company has put in place robust operating procedures to ensure that all of its bars remain open and appropriately staffed throughout.

The company has signed a lease for a new London Cocktail Club on Corn Street in the centre of Bristol. The venue covers an area of approximately 3,500sq ft, with a 2.30am license Thursday-to-Saturday, and has an unrestricted guest capacity of over 300. Nightcap expects to launch the site before the end of the calendar year.

CEO Sarah Willingham commented, “I am delighted to announce the first of several new sites for London Cocktail Club.

'After the strong trading update announced in June and continued strong trading since the easing of restrictions, the Group is starting to deliver on its national roll-out strategy and continues to look to capitalise on the pent-up demand from consumers and the availability of excellent properties across the UK.”

Of current trading, Willingham said the group was buoyed by the performance of all of Nightcap’s bars and was particularly pleased with the performance of Luna Springs in Birmingham, an outdoor bar, food and entertainment space, which is now operating with a capacity of more than 1,000 guests.

Its first major event, which took place on the 24th of July, was fully booked and more events are scheduled for the summer and autumn, including cinema evenings, themed parties and festivals.

Willingham added, “Across our bars, it’s clear that since we were able to reopen earlier this year, guests have been making up for lost time, with perhaps an elevated appreciation for our fantastic drinks served in fun and safe environments by brilliant hosts.

'We’re especially delighted with our progress in Birmingham, with both Luna Springs and Tonight Josephine trading brilliantly, which is very encouraging as we make significant progress on our plans to expand this business nationally.”

With a background in the sector and strong track record as an investor, Willingham established Nightcap with Toxvaerd to help bar and late-night entrepreneurs and businesses recapitalise balance sheets, and to access growth funding as the UK hospitality and leisure sector emerges from the pandemic, and guests return to venues.

Nightcap listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in January, a process that coincided with its first acquisition, of London Cocktail Club. In May, the company secured its second purchase, acquiring Adventure Bar Group, which operates the Tonight Josephine, Bar Elba and Luna Springs brands.

Willingham said, “Our mission and the reason for establishing Nightcap has not changed. We want to grow London Cocktail Club and Adventure Bar Group, especially beyond London. Our immediate focus will be on supporting these businesses and helping them thrive.

'We will also look to find more great businesses with strong and motivated leadership teams, where we can help to release their growth potential.”