Private equity-backed, creative cocktail bar and restaurant group, The Alchemist, to open new sites following £15m loan from OakNorth

  • Founded in 2010, The Alchemist operates 23 sites across the UK and opened its first international site in Berlin last year;
  • The group is backed by private equity firm, Palatine, which focusses on investing in mid-market businesses through its Buyout and Impact Funds;
  • The business hopes to open 10 new sites over the next three years with the £15m loan from OakNorth helping to support this.

OakNorth, the digital bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, has provided a £15m loan to creative cocktail bar and restaurant group, The Alchemist, to support the roll-out of new sites and refinance existing debt.

Founded in Manchester in 2010, the group has successfully scaled to 23 sites across 12 major cities, including six in London, three in Manchester, and three across Scotland, in addition to opening its first overseas site in Berlin last year. With its London Victoria site opening in February 2024, the business’ reputation for mastering the dark arts and “molecular mixology” has won it numerous industry awards, including most recently, ‘Best Drinks Offer’ at the 2023 Publicans Awards.

The business has been backed by leading private equity firm, Palatine, since 2015, which focusses on investing in mid-market businesses through its Buyout and Impact Funds. Headquartered in Manchester and with offices in London and Birmingham, Palatine has built strong relationships with entrepreneurs across various industries, such as consumer and leisure, financial services, health and education, and technology.

Simon Potts, CEO of The Alchemist, commented: “Despite the well-known challenges facing the hospitality sector, we take pride in our unwavering commitment of growing our brand across the UK. Looking ahead, we have ambitions to roll-out 10 new sites over the next three years, with the funding from OakNorth being a key catalyst for this. This was our first-time working closely with OakNorth after being aware of its reputation for backing experienced and innovative bar and restaurant operators. Stewart and his team lived up to this reputation, providing a level of flexibility and transparency that was simply not offered by other lenders. With this capital, we will be able to open additional sites and continue bringing our unique cocktail bar and restaurants to more areas of the UK and overseas.”

Stewart Haworth, Director of Debt Finance at OakNorth, added: “The Alchemist is a perfect example of the creativity that’s currently on offer by the UK’s top bar and restaurant operators. The group has built-up a highly impressive reputation, with the management team delivering an experiential and theatrical food and drink offer across all day parts, in an array of locations, as they plotted their expansion here in the UK and abroad. With the pub and bar industry set for significant growth over the next five years, driven by a rising demand for craft spirits[1], the group is in a prime position to capitalise on this, and we look forward to visiting the new sites in the future.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

[1] IBIS World – Pubs & Bars industry performance 2016-2029

About OakNorth

Launched in September 2015, OakNorth is the digital bank for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, empowering scale-up businesses (£1m-£100m turnover) to support growth, prosperity, and innovation for the benefit of all.

Since its launch, the bank has:

  • Lent over £10b to these businesses, directly helping with the creation of 40,000 new jobs and 29,000 new homes across the UK.
  • Raised deposits from c.175,000 savers.  
  • Supported several hundred businesses across the UK with the debt finance to pursue their growth ambitions.

It is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Visit www.oaknorth.co.uk for more information.

Media contact

Valentina Kristensen, Director, Growth & Communications – [email protected] / [email protected] / 0757 234 9009

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