Kenny Webster has purchased The Griffin in Glasgow from city publican and entrepreneur Oli Norman for an undisclosed sum.
The bar, which has operated on the corner of Bath Street and Elmbank Street since 1903, has lain empty since March 2020 after being forced to close during the lockdown. It is due to reopen this week following a major refurbishment.
Webster, who also owns the Black Wolf Brewery in Throsk, Stirlingshire, and North Coast Brewery in Kinloss, said it had been his intention to buy a bar for some time, but he was waiting for the right opportunity.
The businessman, who will employ 15 people, is targeting a turnover of £1 million in the first year of trading, doubling by the end of year three.
He said: “Being a brewer, it’s a natural fit to move into the licensed trade, but I wasn’t going to acquire any pub just for the sake of it. It had to be the right one and, when The Griffin became available, I knew that was it. It ticked all the boxes.”
He has not ruled out purchasing further outlets.
The bar and lounge areas will serve a range of cask conditioned ales, including those produced by the Isle of Skye Brewery, as well as wines, spirits and traditional pub food, home cooked by The Griffin’s resident chef.
Webster added: “The great charm of The Griffin is that it never changes. People continue to go there because, over the decades, it has retained the same welcoming mix of warmth, conviviality, and familiarity.
“When you take over a venue that’s as iconic as The Griffin, you feel a responsibility to respect people’s feelings for the place and to exceed their expectations. We’re confident we’ve done that.”
The 120-year-old haunt, formerly The King’s Arms, has long been a favoured watering hole for performers at the neighbouring King’s Theatre. Named after publican William Griffin, who owned and ran the bar in the 1960s and 70s, it has been a much-loved destination for generations of regulars, students, office workers and revellers heading to city-centre venues.