Marston’s buys Bar Central chain

Regional brewer Marston’s has bought the London-based Bar Central restaurant chain, which it is converting into Pitcher & Piano outlets.

Amanda Johnson, research manager at Pitcher & Piano, says: “We have 19 bars and are planning to have 50 by the year 2000.”

It bought the chain from Queens Ice Skating, which is using profits from the sale to revamp its flagship ice skating rink and bowling alley in London’s Queensway and to buy and refurbish the Phoenix Plaza ten pin bowling centre in Wokingham.

David Stephens, finance director of Queens Ice Skating, says: “We are using profits from the sale to roll out the ‘leisure box concept’ – the combination of ten pin bowling, fast food facilities, bars and interactive machines – in time for the millennium.” He refuses to reveal how much the chain has been sold for.

The Richmond branch of Bar Central was reopened as Pitcher & Piano last Friday, and the Kings Road outlet is likely to follow suit on June 12.

Queens Ice Skating bought the Bar Central chain from Grosvenor Inns in spring 1997. Although Queens still owns the rights to the Bar Central brand, Stephens says: “It is unlikely we will re-open a restaurant called Bar Central.”

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