Wine bar chain appoints restructuring expert to ‘safeguard business’

Vagabond Wines has appointed an advisory firm with hopes of restructuring its balance sheet to safeguard the business.

The London-based pour-your-own wine bar chain posted notice of intention to appoint administrators in the High Court on Monday, with McDermott Will and Emery representing the firm.

Historic debts from the pandemic, the loss of the “highly successful Heathrow venue” in January, alongside cost pressures, have forced the firm to appoint Quantuma.

Despite the move, Vagabond says it’s business as usual.

Stephen Finch, who left Vagabond on January 3 this year, established the brand in 2009. It’s grown to include 11 venues and secured backing from Imbiba, now Europe’s largest investor in social entertainment businesses, in 2018.

Vagabond opened its 10th site and first location outside of London in October 2021, when its 4,000 sq ft Birmingham bar began service on Bennetts Hill. With a capacity of more than 200, guests were able to self-pour a selection of 100 wines from around the world, including Vagabond’s own English Wines that are made in its Urban Winery in south-west London.

According to its most recent financial report for the period ended March 2022, the business generated £7.4m in revenue resulting in a gross profit of £5.2m. Accounts did include a loss of almost £860k.

A spokesperson for Vagabond told “All of our amazing Vagabond venues are open and trading, offering over 100 delicious wines by the glass, and there are no plans for this to change.”

“Due to legacy Covid debts, and other well documented cost pressures, and the loss of the company’s highly successful Heathrow venue due to the reconfiguration of airport security, the company has decided to undertake a restructuring to safeguard the business and protect the jobs of our brilliant team. The management team, the board and investors remain highly supportive at this time.”