Corney & Barrow has decided to exit the on-trade by selling its 11-strong bar estate to bar and restaurant operator Drake & Morgan.
The deal, which was for an undisclosed sum, will see Corney & Barrow retain its long established wine merchant business. Drake & Morgan has said it will continue to work with Corney & Barrow as one of its preferred wine suppliers.
Percy Weatherall, Corney & Barrow chairman, said: 'We are delighted that Drake & Morgan has acquired our wine bar business and we look forward to a continued and productive relationship as we work with the group to build its wine offering.'
Corney & Barrow Bars launched as a City-based collection of premium wine bars in 1983. However Corney & Barrow's wine merchant business dates back 230 years, and is one of the longest established independent wine merchants in the UK, as well as a holder of two Royal Warrants.
Jillian Maclean, MD of Drake & Morgan said: 'The acquisition strengthens our presence in the City and we look forward to working more closely with the Corney & Barrow Wine Merchant business, introducing their fantastic portfolio of wines across the Drake & Morgan estate.'
Drake & Morgan – which is backed by private equity firm Bowmark Capital – says it now plans to build a significant, multi-brand bar and restaurant portfolio in London, expanding regionally. It plans to add another five sites to the current nine-strong group, over the next 12 months, with new sites planned for Heathrow T4, Edinburgh, London, and Spinningfields and One St Peters Square - both in Manchester.
The acquisition of Corney & Barrow will see the portfolio increase to at least 25 sites by the end 2017, it said.