The Alchemist is opening new bars in Covent Garden and Shoreditch despite ‘competitive market’

Bar group The Alchemist is building two new sites in central London as part of a £3 million investment into the company’s portfolio.

The Alchemist group is known as one of the pioneers of molecular mixology in Manchester. (Photo: The Alchemist)

The first of the two venues is set to open in November in St Martins Lane, while the east London venue, set in Old Street, is due to launch in spring next year, brining its total number of sites in the capital to three.

The bar chain is spending £1.3 million and £1.6 million on both projects respectively, while its first London location in Bevis Marks is to undergo a refurb this August estimated to cost around £280,000.

owned by Living Ventures, the bar group currently has 14 sites across the UK in cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle.

Founded in Spinningfields, Manchester, in 2010, The Alchemist was one of the forerunners of the molecular mixology trend in the city’s financial district.

“It’s been a long time coming but we feel incredibly lucky to have secured two fantastic locations,” said Simon Potts, managing director of The Alchemist.

The news comes as recruiters and industry leaders have warned of a potential staff shortage in the bar and restaurant sector now that Brexit negotiations are underway.

Around 330,000 staff currently working in the UK hospitality industry are considering leaving the UK due to Brexit, according to a recent YouGov poll.

Almost 1 in 5 (18%) of hospitality managers reported that recruitment had been harder now than in April 2017, with 16% believing they will not be able to fulfil their staffing requirements over the next five years with domestic workers.

Restaurant groups in particular are feeling the strain in the UK’s current economic climate. Profits of the UK’s top 100 restaurant groups fell by a collective 64% in 2017, with 35 now loss-making – up 75% in just a year – according to research by accountancy firm UHY Hacker.

Potts, however, is confident that his bar chain will thrive in the capital.

“London is obviously a competitive market – but following the success of Bevis Marks, we are confident we can offer a memorable and immersive experience for both residents and tourists to enjoy.

“Customers of our existing site will see a real difference in both our offering and design as we aim to elevate our venues with each launch, and these will be no different. We cannot wait to open the doors and put more Alchemist stamps across the city of London.”

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