L-R - Sam Gregory and Harriet Gibbs

Six-figure funding deal accelerates the next stage of growth for famous Bristol pub landlord

A Bristol-based pub landlord, who recently received national acclaim for his popular Sunday Roast, has secured a six-figure funding deal to help purchase and redevelop a historic Grade II listed pub in the St. Jude’s area of the city.

Sam Gregory is utilising the facility provided by alternative finance lender Reward Finance Group to acquire and refurbish The Crown Tavern in Bristol and build on his growing roster of already successful pubs in the area – The Bank Tavern and The Bell Inn.

The Bank Tavern made national headlines after opening its 2024 Sunday Roast bookings after a four-year waiting list. The bookings for the entire year sold out in just a matter of hours.

Sam started his career as a part-time staff member at The Bank Tavern before accepting the opportunity to take the pub on as his own. Fifteen years later and Sam has turned his attention to purchasing and redeveloping The Crown Tavern following closure in April 2023.

Originally built in the 18th century, the pub is best known for being the home of St Jude’s Boxing Club. The former landlords, Dominic and Gloria O’Connor, had run the historic pub for over 30 years and were concerned that it would be redeveloped into flats, until Sam stepped in.

Sam’s success comes with the help of his business partner, Stephen Best, who looks after the administration and operational side of the business and he has vast experience in the pub and hospitality industry.

Sam turned to Reward as he needed a lender that could offer the pace and flexibility of funding to ensure the purchase and redevelopment of The Crown Tavern was completed quickly. The lender specialises in providing tailored business finance and asset-based solutions of up to £5m to property investors and SMEs across the UK.

Sam Gregory, owner of The Bank Tavern, and now The Crown Tavern, said: “To be able to purchase The Crown Tavern is a real privilege as it is steeped in history and complements our growing portfolio of successful pubs.

“We’re currently in the process of sensitively redeveloping the property whilst ensuring it retains its heritage, traditional features and local charm. All of this has been made possible by Harriet and the team at Reward who have taken the time to understand the business and provide a fast and flexible funding solution. This has meant we could complete the purchase quickly and ensure we’ve stayed on track to modernise the pub within a very tight deadline.”

Sam is planning to open The Crown Tavern’s doors in March and will see his team across all three pubs expand from 10 full-time staff to 25.

Harriet Gibbs, business development director for Reward Finance Group, added: “Despite the reluctance of traditional lenders to finance property investors, SMEs and the hospitality sector, we’ve played a key role in funding major commercial property transactions and redevelopment schemes. Sam and the team have established a hugely successful cluster of pubs in Bristol, and it was a pleasure to help get this over the line and help finance the next stage of their growth.”

“We’re delighted our funding will contribute towards opening the doors once more of this popular establishment and providing a catalyst for further expansion for Sam and his team in the future.”

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