Famous Harrogate bar is sold

One of Harrogate's most famous bars has been sold.

Tuesday, 21st February 2017, 8:14 am
Updated Wednesday, 1st March 2017, 8:44 am
The Harrogate Brasserie.

After running the cosy and characterful Harrogate Brasserie independently for 27 years, owners Richard and Amanda Finney have handed over to Timothy Taylors brewers.

Renowned for its live jazz music and chess board chequered floor, Richard Finney said he was looking forward to retiring but was delighted that the new owners shared similar values to the Brasserie.

Speaking to the Harrogate Advertiser after the news was announced to staff at the Brasserie, he said he was also looking forward to welcoming loyal customers and friends for a final drink before the handover takes place properly at this Cheltenham Parade location in a month's time.

Richard, 56, said: "We are selling we are selling to a long-established family company whom intend to keep the Harrogate brasserie and the staff as we all know it.

"I wish them all the best for the future. I am delighted that guests and visitors will be able to sample their fine range of quality ales. I am sure I will be popping in for a pint or two myself."

Timothy Taylor's chief executive Tim Dewey told the Harrogate Advertiser the intention was to bring in the brewery's own beers and introduce more of the modern gins to the Brasserie, which ia a popular restaurant and hotel as well as bar.

But, he added there was no one 'Timothy Taylors brand' and the firm believed in owning different and distinctive bars.

Tim Dewey said: "We were looking for a high profile venue in Harrogate that would give us a presence in the town.

"We feel that the Harrogate Brasserie offers us a quality solution and we look forward to working with Richard Finney's team to build on and enhance the excellent tradition they have established at the Brasserie."

Richard, who lives in Harrogate with Amanda and who have four children, said the key to the success of the Brasserie was consistency rather than anything flashy or dramatic.

He said: "We had no previous experience of the catering trade when we took over but we learned through hard work.

"We didn't believe in big marketing campaigns or anything like that. The key to our longevity has been consistency. If you go to a restaurant and enjoy it you can't tell friends you loved it if it changes the next night.

"The business has grown slowly but steadily and the customer base has grown with us in a way we have been comfortable with.

"In the early years there were days where we would be working all day and wouldn't get to bed until 1am or 2am.

"Now the restaurant is full at 6pm but we can be in bed by 11pm."

The Brasserie started trading on May 18, 1990 at a time when Richard and Amanda were just beginning to build a family; four children came along in the period of 13 months.

Richard said that his most important decision at the Brasserie probably came in 1993 with the introduction of live music with an emphasis on jazz.

Despite his gentle and low key approach to creating a successful business - changes at the Brasserie were often so sensitively done even customers scarcely noticed - Richard said one of his proudest moments was when the bar received an AA rosette.

Richard said: "After 27 years and all children through university we consider the time is perfect to move onto the next chapter of our lives.

"Over years I have been approached by many individuals and companies trying to purchase the brasserie from ourselves but only now have I felt that one the time is right and, secondly, the purchaser is right am I prepared to listen.

"We're looking forward to retiring and doing some travelling. But the handover will last a month and we would love to see old friends and customers to share a drink at the Brasserie with our brilliant staff."