Nov 2 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
A NATIONWIDE hospitality firm has finalised a deal to take over the Meadowpark Hotel and Red Room nightclub in Bridge of Allan, it was confirmed this week, writes JOHNATHON MENZIES.
Mitchells & Butlers will take control of the Kenilworth Road venues at the turn of the year, after agreeing to purchase the sites from administrators, and have revealed plans to convert it into one of the chain’s Village Pub and Kitchen outlets.
The popular student haunt has been beset by financial difficulties and the move appears to have sounded the death knell for recently-rebranded club, the Red Room.
Neil Rankin, a director of current operators Kenilworth Inns Ltd, said the time had come to draw a line under months of rumour and speculation locally.
He explained: “The premises has been sold to a large national operator and my company, that runs the business under a lease, has been approached with a view to the same national operator taking over day-to-day operations.
“I can confirm that we have reached a deal that suits my company and staff and, therefore, from January 2012, operations will transfer to the new owner. My staff will be fully protected in this deal.”
Mr Rankin continued: “From the start of next year neither myself, nor my company, will be trading from the Meadowpark or the nightclub. It is not my place to speak on behalf of the new owner, although I have been told that they will shut the building for refurbishment and reopen under a different name.”
A spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers confirmed the deal to purchase the two licensed premises had been done, but admitted details were thin on the ground as it was still “very early days”.
He continued: “I can confirm that we have agreed to purchase the site from the administrators, with a view to reopening it as one of our Village Pub and Kitchen businesses.
“There is still a lot of work to do, but we would hope the business will be in a position to reopen close to Easter next year.
“This is an excellent opportunity for Mitchells & Butlers to trade with a brand new pub restaurant in the area, and represents significant investment in the local economy.”
However, when asked what the future may hold for the Meadowpark Hotel’s adjacent nightclub, formerly known as the Beat, the spokesman said the outlook appeared bleak.
“Additionally, a nightclub operation would not form part of our plans,” he concluded.
Mr Rankin said that the weeks leading up to the handover are set to be an emotional time for everyone connected to the premises.
The businessman confessed: “The Med, as well as the Outhouse, Beat and Red Room, has been a Stirling institution for many, many, years and it will be sad to see it go.
“I have been involved with the place for almost 15 years, on and off. It’s been a lot of fun at times, and caused a lot of heartbreak at others.
“Ultimately, I don’t have the money required to get the building into the condition it needs to be in to survive. This deal suits me perfectly and it’s time to go.
“The new owners will undoubtedly spend money on the place, and I have no doubt it will feature as a local landmark for years to come.”
Mitchells & Butlers currently operate about 1600 restaurants and bars throughout the UK.