The Refinery and Anthologist operator Drake & Morgan is to expand outside of London for the first time, with the opening of a new bar and restaurant in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square.
Speaking to Imbibe, Dylan Murray, director of operations said the company was looking to open an additional two sites outside the capital, with Manchester a likely location for the first. He said: 'Acquisitions and finding the right sites with the right footprints is the most challenging part of our business. It’s exciting for us to be taking our product out of London for the first time. We would love to continue the expansion. If we got to 20 sites that would be amazing. We have both the appetite and the ambition.'
The news comes after the company – which currently has eight sites – also announced plans to open its ninth London venue, with a flagship bar at King's Cross. The venue will be the group's biggest yet at 14,500 sq ft and will be the first to carry the company name, as Drake & Morgan at King's Cross.
The King's Cross site will be spread across two floors and comprise two bars and a restaurant, deli and lounge, private dining room and a series of bookable kitchen 'pods' as well as an outdoor terrace. Alex Daulby of Hops & Jigger has designed the cocktail list, while Dave Green, formerly of the Dean Street Townhouse, has been appointed head chef.
Jillian MacLean, managing director, said: 'Over the last few years we’ve watched King’s Cross regenerate and turn into a diverse foodie hub and are extremely excited to have chosen it as the location for the ninth bar and restaurant. The site we’ve selected is perfectly placed with great passing trade and the Google offices directly above us.'
Murray said that the King's Cross venue was about establishing Drake & Morgan as a brand in its own right. 'Our ambition has been to put our name above the door. That’s a big step forward for us,' he said. 'There’s an element of confidence in that. It will be our flagship. The offer will be slightly elevated from what we’re doing at our other sites, with new cocktails and interesting vessels to serve cocktails in, and an elevated wine list. But the whole offer will still be very casual and accessible. We’d like our venues to be an everyday escape for people.'
Drake & Morgan’s other sites include The Refinery Bankside, The Folly on Gracechurch Street, The Drift at Heron Tower, and The Fable in Farringdon.