Bar & Drinks news

New entrepreneurs’ group, Clover, are quick off the mark

Mark Beirne, Paul Langsford, Andrew Maxwell and Jim Conlon, who have formed the Clover Group and have announced the development of the new Margot bar.

Four of Belfast’s most successful hospitality and leisure entrepreneurs have announced that they have formed a new group and have commenced their first project, Margot, which will see the regeneration of a vacant bar in the heart of Belfast City Centre creating 25 new jobs.

The announcement which represents a significant move within the industry sees Mark Beirne and Paul Langsford who have been behind the regeneration of many popular Belfast bars, join forces with hospitality and leisure entrepreneur Jim Conlon and Andrew Maxwell, former US bar chain owner and Board member of Boojum.

The new group, Clover, which is targeting a broad range of investments, plans to breathe new life into existing bars with a number of announcements expected in the coming months.   The first project the group has undertaken is the development of Margot, an underground venue, on the site of the former Basement bar in Donegal Square East.

Designed by Belfast based branding studio Sort, Margo’s will see the venue’s raw industrial basement merge with elegant furniture and art deco inspired fittings to enhance a laid back and funky vibe.  Margot will serve up small plates, flat breads and drinks every day of the week with its informal feel evolving in the evenings with cocktails and DJ sets.

The entrepreneurs behind Clover bring a complementary skillset to the group with vast sectoral experience.  These include developing bars from concept through to leading Belfast nightlife venues, the sympathetic restoration and enhancement of venues with historic importance, delivering unique and innovative food offerings and corporate governance expertise in areas including MBOs.

Having been together since the formation of the original Milk Bar in Tomb street in 2,000, Mark Beirne and Paul Langsford have consistently targeted vacant and neglected properties to establish some of Belfast’s most popular venues including Filthy McNasty’s, Rita’s and their most recent venture Pug Ugly’s.  Mark Beirne’s alliance with Jim Conlon who has a range of businesses including Fitzpatrick’s bar and restaurant and GymCo is a natural progression, with both men partnering in the successful redevelopment of Henry’s and the Jailhouse in Joy’s Entry.  This will be the first time that Andrew Maxwell will have worked with the other three entrepreneurs and his corporate knowledge and expertise with trade experience in the US and a proven track record in private equity with Boojum, represents a significant addition to the Group.

Commenting on the announcement of both the Group and its new bar Margot, Jim Conlon, Clover Group Partner, said, “The coming together of this level of industry expertise under one roof is very exciting for us and the hospitality industry as a whole.  It is also represents an important development within the wider business environment, with the Clover Group actively seeking a broad range of new investments.

“Our first venture, Margot, has been strategically targeted in the heart of Belfast in Donegal Square East, where the wider area has seen a rejuvenation in night time trade over the last number of years.  Margot will add an exciting new mix to the growing nightlife and café culture in that part of the City.  The venue’s laid-back vibe will provide quality and relaxed food offering throughout the day, transforming in the evening with an experiential intensity with our music and cocktail offering.

“Work on Margot is already underway which we plan to open by xx.  We are confident this project will be followed by other venues within the City Centre, on which we are currently conducting due diligence.  These new premises also have huge potential but have been underutilised in recent times and as Belfast continues to evolve and grow, our newly planned developments will add to its dynamic and increasingly eclectic mix.”

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