Austin Whelan has taken on Acorn 20, bringing his pub portfolio to eight

Multiple operator Austin Whelan, has taken on Acorn 20 in Kingston, his fifth pub with Star Pubs & Bars, and is taking on another two South London sites with the pub company later this year.

Multiple operator, Austin Whelan, has taken on Acorn 20 in Kingston, his fifth pub with Star Pubs & Bars, and is taking on another two South London sites with the pub company later this year.  It brings his pub portfolio to eight. 

Together, Whelan and Star Pubs & Bars are investing £500k transforming the site into a Whelans, a top-end Irish pub representing the best of Irish hospitality.  It is the third Whelans, the others being in Neasden and Uxbridge.

Building work began on 11th June and will take will take five weeks to complete and will create 12 new jobs.  The site had been closed for 18 months prior to the investment.

Whelans will have a smart emerald green exterior with black and gold signage and a courtyard garden for alfresco dining and drinking with seating for 25-30 people.

Like the other Whelans pubs, the interior has been designed to resemble a traditional Irish street scene with shop fronts cabinetry as a backdrop.  It will feature colourful tiles and wood panelling and feel very Irish.  There will be plenty of snugs for groups to create their own atmosphere with an open area where all can enjoy live entertainment.

Whelans will open for breakfast and coffee and teas in the morning, light bites at lunch as well as traditional pub food in the evening.  The pub will show rugby, golf, racing and other live Sky sport on 10 screens and offer live music five nights a week including one night of traditional Irish music.

Good wholesome pub food will be on offer, ranging from paninis, soup and sandwiches to pizzas and Irish-influenced dishes such as Steak and Guinness pie, Irish Stew, Bacon and cabbage, and a great Sunday roast.

There will be a wide selection of wines, craft beer, Irish malt whiskeys and top-quality gins.

Austin Whelan said: “I’ve put my name to the Whelans brand and so it is important to me that Whelans represents the very best in Irish hospitality and is valued by the communities they serve. I want Whelans bars to stand the test of time and ultimately be run by my children, not disappear after 10 years.

“Both the Whelans we opened last year are trading above target, proof that the concept in the right place is a winner.

“We’ve chosen to take on further sites with Star as we have a great relationship with them.  They are a good company to partner with, providing investment and business building support when we need it.”

Dugald Macer, regional operations director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Austin is a very experienced pub operator with high standards and a clear vision.  It’s great that he’s giving Acorn 20 a new direction and is supporting local talent through the entertainment that Whelans will offer. We wish him well with this latest venture and look forward to helping him develop his portfolio further later this year.”