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Nightcap buys Piano Works bar for £200,000

Bar owner and operator Nightcap has purchased The Piano Works chain for £200,000 (US$252,143).

Nightcap now owns The Piano Works

The Piano Works launched in 2015 in Farringdon, London, and is an interactive live music entertainment concept.

Alan Lorrimer, founder of The Piano Works, said: “Over the past eight years we have loved creating a communal and immersive experience for our many guests singing along to their favourite soundtracks.

“The past four years have been the toughest I have known in my 40 years in hospitality. We survived Covid, but when the sale of our Leicester Square venue fell through, it was the last financial straw.

“We transferred into Covent Garden thanks to a great collaboration with the Nightcap team. We had an excellent Christmas which proved we could work really well together.

“We now have the potential to expand The Piano Works and prove that customers across the country will love our immersive audience requested live music experience.”

The acquisition aligns with Nightcap’s strategy to purchase venues in the drinks-led premium bar sector of the UK hospitality industry.

Sarah Willingham, chief executive officer of Nightcap, said: “The Piano Works is another excellent addition to our group. I very much look forward to the future of this concept.

“It adds a whole new area of expertise to Nightcap and a different entertainment offer, bringing live music to our customers.

“We have known The Piano Works concept for a long time and look forward to working with the founders and their dedicated staff.

“After the very successful residency in our Barrio bar in Covent Garden at Christmas we are delighted to be able to partner with them and provide the opportunities to bring this great entertainment concept to other cities across the UK.”

2024 ‘far softer’ than anticipated

The acquisition coincides with an updated trading forecast for Nightcap’s 2024 financial year.

Nightcap CEO Sarah Willingham

The beginning of 2024 has been ‘far softer’ than the board anticipated. Rail strikes, the cost-of-living crisis, above-inflation increases to business rates and other costs, and the imminent increase to the national living wage have all been cited as reasons for the revised forecast.

While the board expects revenue for 2024 to be in line with expectations, adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) is expected to be in the range of £2 million (US$2.5m) and £2.5m (US$3.2m).

Willingham added: “2023 has been a tough year for the hospitality industry with numerous head winds which have impacted Nightcap and our entire industry. Whilst we will still see the impact of these challenges continuing in the coming months, the outlook for our next financial year looks very promising.

“We have assembled an outstanding management team and a solid foundation for the future is now in place. For the current year we are on track to achieve significant growth and hit our revenue growth targets but will be adversely impacted by the higher costs resulting from the acquisition and business integration of Dirty Martini and The Piano Works, train strikes, the cost of living crisis and the National Living Wage increase.

“I am very excited about the future prospects for Nightcap and look forward to next year as our synergies bed in and we start to benefit from the successful integration of all of our businesses. Our new systems and processes will be fully functioning and optimised, and the impact of our exceptional team and their excellent work will be felt and seen widely across the business.

“It’s been a very important year in the life cycle of a very fast growing business; both through acquisition and through organic growth. Now it is time to move onto the next stage and enjoy the benefits of the scale we have achieved in record time.”

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