Leisure group acquires Lakes venue ahead of reopening
The operators of a group of popular Lakes restaurants and bars have acquired their latest venue during the lockdown – just in time to open as rules are relaxed.
Alex Mauro and Colin Monk, owners of High Spirits Leisure Group, are well known in the region for the successful venues they operate – The Flying Pig, Caffe Riva, and The Arts Bar & Grill in Bowness, The Yewdale Inn and Enzo’s, Coniston, The Flying Fleece, Ambleside and the Howbeck Retreat, a five-star, luxury hotel in Windemere.
Now, they have agreed a lease to take over The Fulling Mill, set on the banks of the beck, Rydal Road, Ambleside.
The pair have now taken over the venue, a restored Grade II-listed building dating from the 15th century which formerly operated as a fulling mill for clothmaking, and features a working weir, millrace, wheel and other restored machinery.
After a refurbishment to put the group’s own stamp on the venue, the new-style Fulling Mill is ready to open on July 4, when the lockdown rules are relaxed.
The four-storey building features dining on the two upper floors and a bar downstairs.
They were advised on the lease by David Hill, real estate partner, and Jamie Allison, head of real estate and Cumbria at regional law firm, Napthens.
Jamie Allison said: “Alex and Colin operate a number of exciting venues throughout the Lake District, and The Fulling Mill very much continues this trend.
“It’s a bold move, taking over a venue in a short space of time, when the Government’s specific plans for the lockdown hadn’t been finalised, but they are firmly looking beyond the next few months and planning for the long-term, which is great to see.
“The current restrictions will, no doubt, bring some challenges for the leisure sector generally, but Alex and Colin and their loyal team are up to it.
“We were able to secure the lease for them relatively quickly given current restrictions so their plans for refurbishment and opening could go ahead.”
Alex said: “It’s been tough to get to this stage during the lockdown, but thanks to Napthens and a supportive landlord, we were able to secure the lease, and the team here have worked hard to have the Fulling Mill ready.
“We’re planning to bring the same approach we have across all our venues, but with all the necessary public health restrictions for as long as they are needed.
“We’re able to open safely for our customers, but at the same time, we’re firmly looking at the future ready for when things can get back to normal.”