South London multiple operator takes major investment site

Captain Cook Pub

Chris Wilkie and Karl Tisch, owners of pub company Whiskey Whiskey Tango Ltd, have taken a 20-year lease on the Wilton in Fulham with Star Pubs & Bars. It is their second leased pub with Star Pubs & Bars and their third site in South London.

The pub, which is being renamed the Captain Cook, opens this week following a joint £500k refurbishment. It is the largest investment site in the South of England for Star Pubs & Bars in 2014.

Matt - Captain CookThe project has transformed the pub. Downstairs rooms have been knocked through forming a light airy open plan trading space, a theatre style kitchen has been installed and a dining area created. A barista coffee bar using Star Pubs & Bars’ Kimbo coffee deal has also been added complete with comfortable seating. Whilst the look is contemporary, the Captain Cook will have a traditional feel with stripped floors, exposed brickwork and reclaimed wood furniture.

Smart Dispense has been put in and the pub will serve three cask ales as well as Theakstons new craft beer, Theakston’s American IPA. A wide selection of bottled beers from Heineken’s world beer list will be offered including Monteith’s.

A second phase of development is being undertaken by Wilkie and Tisch to add eight letting rooms above the pub, six of which will be en suite. The duo expect the rooms to be ready at Christmas time and plan to market them to weekday workers in London as well as visitors to the capital.

Wilkie and Tisch are looking to expand further in South London aiming to add another three sites to their group over the next five years. “Freeholds in London are almost cost prohibitive and having to compete with developers for sites pushes  prices up further. We prefer the leased model as it reduces risk and provides a lower cost way of operating pubs compared to freeholds,” explains Wilkie.

Wilkie and Tisch were attracted to the Wilton because of its location in an up and coming area of Fulham and the opportunity it presented for creating multiple income streams. “Multiple income streams are another good way of reducing risk and Star Pubs & Bars has been extremely supportive and flexible to work with allowing us to fund and undertake the refurbishment of the letting rooms with our own contractors,” says Wilkie. 

Adds Chris Jowsey, trading director Star Pubs & Bars, “We are committed to developing long term relationships with our lessees and are delighted that such skilled pub operators have chosen to take another site with us. Nearly half of our investment in 2014 has been with multiple operators such as Chris and Karl. They tend to have a very clear vision for the sites they take on and specific financing requirements.  We are able to accommodate both needs, enabling them to stamp their individuality on design schemes and creating tailored commercial agreements that are right for them and the site.”