In a commercial deal reckoned to be one of the largest seen in the Belfast licensed trade in recent years The Kremlin Licensed Complex, which includes The Kremlin Club, Union Street Bar and The Shoe Factory Club has been bought over by Anthology NI at close to the £3,000,000 asking price.
Formed in 2009 to lease and run the Kremlin Complex, Anthology NI will take on with immediate effect full ownership of the iconic LGBT venues, including Liquor License, branding, copyrights, goodwill, fixtures and fittings.
The complex first launched with the Kremlin Club in 1999, since when it has developed and expanded to become one of Ireland’s best-performing and best-known licensed premises. Anthea Wilson, Director of Anthology NI, who has driven that growth for the last five years, is delighted to be taking over ownership of the location. She says, “In some respects it will be ‘business as usual’, for we will continue to nurture our superbly loyal customer base, providing weekly themed nights, famous music stars and drag acts and great value promotions.
“Value will be a key theme for us as we move into this next exciting phase of our business development. We believe we already have the best value private hire in Belfast, and we will be launching a proactive marketing campaign to take our blend of value, quality food and entertainment, together with funky-stylish surroundings, to the widest possible audiences. We’ll be making venues at The Kremlin Complex available for private hire everything from cocktail classes, birthday and corporate events to Christmas parties.”
The complex is home to a range of luxurious bar spaces: The Green Room, a Chic New York style bar on the second floor of Union Street is suitable for up to 60 guests; Tsar, a cocktail lounge bedecked in Soviet-inspired décor is suitable for catering for up to 80 guests; The Shoe Factory which offers an intimate candle-lit club suits groups of up to 250 people and, for larger parties or corporate gatherings of up to 700 people, there is The Kremlin itself. Anthea explains, “We trade seven nights a week, year round and our venues can all be immensely busy, so we will be carefully managing corporate hire so that it fits in with and complements our existing trade patterns. Clearly, not every bar can be made available for private hire every day of the week, but we do have some spare capacity plus the management skills to balance private and corporate bookings with an already vibrant and still growing customer base. Fans of The Kremlin can rest assured that the only changes we’ll be making will be improvements …and, with that in mind, they can look forward to a significant, imaginative and fun addition to the Complex which we will be unveiling in the Spring.
“There has never been a better time to invest in this area and we look forward to the commercial opportunities which will be created with the opening of the new University of Ulster’s campus on York Street which is due to be operational late 2018. The Kremlin Complex is ideally positioned – in location, style and attitude – to play a lead role in what will be an exciting re-energising of this corner of the city.”
Tim Reid, Director of Capital Markets at selling agent CBRE said, “As the economic recovery continues to gather pace, so too have we witnessed strong renewed interest in the Northern Ireland hotel and licensed sector. The sale of the Kremlin demonstrates that there is appetite for larger pub lot sizes, where the premises have been well fitted and are underpinned by strong trading fundamentals.”