Karen Jones, co-founder of restaurant chain Café Rouge, is launching a series of neighbourhood pubs under the brand-name Bar Room Bar. Jones, who netted &£3m when the Pelican Group, which includes Café Rouge, was sold to Whitbread three years ago, bought the Bar Room Bar business from Punch Taverns earlier this year. The three pubs in the group – in Battersea, Kennington and Hampstead in London – are high-quality venues offering pizzas cooked in wood ovens, regular entertainment and art displays. Jones, former managing director of Pelican, plans to roll out the Bar Room Bar concept nationally. She is also negotiating on the open market to take over two other London sites. Two of the existing premises are leased from Punch Taverns, and Jones is believed to be working closely with Punch founder and former partner in Pelican, Roger Myers, to line-up further premises. Jones, who founded Café Rouge with Myers in 1989, says: “The growth will be as rapid as we can find the sites. We are not looking to put them in city centres. They will be where people live, not where they work.” Jones was the general manager of Myers’ Peppermint Park restaurant, before going into partnership with him in the early Eighties. The pair sold their first business, Theme Holdings, to Leisure Investments, before opening Café Rouge.
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