Indie bar operator eyes Nottingham for new launch

An indie bar chain is considering a move into Nottingham.

Escapism Bars, which was set up 20 years ago by husband-and-wife team Phil and Mel Harrison has three venues in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.

The operator says it wants to double its estate and is looking to launch its Mean-Eyed Cat brand in Birmingham, Nottingham and Sheffield.

Mean-Eyed Cat is run along a Deep South dive bar theme which provides free pizza and gives punters a chance to win discounts or even a free round through a “roll the dice” concept.

David Aldred, operations manager for Escapism Bars, told hospitality trade title Propel: “We opened Mean-Eyed Cat, alongside sister bar concept Tiki Hideaway, in Manchester last summer, and sales were 134% above target in the first full month of opening.

“Sheffield, Birmingham and Nottingham are all cities that we are looking at for our expansion plans. All three cities suit the bars perfectly and we feel they would be a great fit.

“We are working towards a three to five-year plan where we take learnings from opening each venue and focus our efforts on establishing them within the city. We invest heavily in our staff members and aim to make Escapism Bars a great place to work, learn and progress.

“We invest in people with our barback to boardroom training programme and pay everyone a fair wage. We also put on quarterly away days, offer paid well-being leave after the Christmas rush and make sure everyone really gets to know each other, which has a knock-on effect when it comes to team spirit.”