Leading bar operator scores £7m investment as it prepares for Scottish debut

Arc Inspirations will shortly open its first Scottish Manhatta venue

AWARD-winning bar group, Arc Inspirations, the leading operator of premium bar brands, Banyan, BOX and Manahatta, is set to accelerate its expansion across the UK after raising £7m.

The company has secured a £4m loan from its banking partner, HSBC UK, alongside a £3m equity injection from its shareholders, including BGF which has backed the business since 2022. With ambitions to deliver at least four new openings per year over the next five years, the capital will support Arc’s continued growth plans, and also fund a major programme of exciting new refurbishments at existing Manahatta sites.

Commenting on the news, Co-Founder and CEO Martin Wolstencroft, said: “We’re grateful to the HSBC UK team and to our shareholders who continue to believe in our business and support us on our ambitious growth journey. Together we have achieved a number of key milestones, with four successful new site openings in 2023, and our most successful festive period to date. Each success is testament to our team and culture, and I thank each and every member of our team as we continue to build what we believe is the best bar business in the country.”

Arc Inspirations’ next opening will be its debut Scottish site – Manahatta Edinburgh, the brand’s tenth venue, launching later this summer. The newest addition will bring the beat of New York to Edinburgh, with a glamorous, exciting cocktail bar perfect for glam get-togethers and everyday escapism. The company is also eyeing further launches in London, Liverpool, and Cardiff in 2024, creating around 300 new jobs this year which can turn into long-term careers, with team members at all levels able to take advantage of Arc’s industry-leading training and development programmes and immerse themselves in the company’s famous culture.

James Sawley, Head of Retail & Leisure at HSBC UK, said: “Arc Inspirations is a homegrown success story and we’re delighted to build on our relationship and provide further investment to this resilient and ambitious business.

“Arc has already achieved impressive scale, and our support has enabled Martin and his team to deliver significant growth in recent years. With a strong balance sheet, outstanding leadership team and proven concepts, we are confident in Arc’s ability to succeed in new, untapped markets across the UK, and we wish the team every success with the next stage of their exciting growth plans.”

In 2023, Arc Inspirations opened BOX sites in Nottingham and Birmingham, as well as two Manahattas in Newcastle and Sheffield. Arc operates a cluster model, running premium large-scale bar sites, under complementary brands in key cities in the Midlands and the North of England. It currently employs 1,000 people and its growth plans mean it will recruit a similar number again, over the next three-to-five years.

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