Bar group raises £7m for expansion

Bar group Arc Inspirations, which operates brands Manahatta, BOX and Banyan, has raised £7m through loan and equity to accelerate UK expansion.

The group aims to open four new venues a year for the next five years, and refurbish several of its existing Manahatta sites. HSBC has agreed a £4m loan, with the remaining £3m coming from equity sale to existing shareholders including growth capital investor BGF.

Martin Wolstencroft, co-founder and chief executive of Arc Inspirations, said: “We’re grateful to the HSBC UK team and to our shareholders who continue to believe in our business and support us on our ambitious growth journey.

“Together we have achieved a number of key milestones, with four successful new site openings in 2023, and our most successful festive period to date. Each success is testament to our team and culture, and I thank each and every member of our team as we continue to build what we believe is the best bar business in the country.”

James Sawley, Head of Retail & Leisure at HSBC UK, said: “Arc Inspirations is a homegrown success story and we’re delighted to build on our relationship and provide further investment to this resilient and ambitious business.

“Arc has already achieved impressive scale, and our support has enabled Martin and his team to deliver significant growth in recent years. With a strong balance sheet, outstanding leadership team and proven concepts, we are confident in Arc’s ability to succeed in new, untapped markets across the UK, and we wish the team every success with the next stage of their exciting growth plans.”

In 2023, Arc Inspirations opened BOX sites in Nottingham and Birmingham, as well as two Manahattas in Newcastle and Sheffield. Arc operates a cluster model, running premium large-scale bar sites, under complementary brands in key cities in the Midlands and the North of England. It currently employs 1,000 people and its growth plans mean it will recruit a similar number again, over the next three-to-five years.

The firm’s next opening will be its debut Scottish site – Manahatta Edinburgh, the brand’s tenth venue, launching later this summer. It  is also eyeing further launches in London, Liverpool, and Cardiff in 2024, creating around 300 new jobs this year.