Belfast brothers get go-ahead for £1m rooftop bar and restaurant
Two of Belfast's youngest hoteliers have been given the green light to build a £1m rooftop bar and restaurant in the city centre as they revealed plans to expand into Britain.
Ben (27) and Peter Ringland (29), who opened The Flint Hotel on Howard Street last June, have been granted planning approval for the 220-seater eatery on top of the seven storey former office building. It's expected to create 30 more jobs at the 55-bedroom hotel.
The brothers behind the Ringland Group are currently redeveloping the Townhouse Crescent Hotel on Botanic Avenue, which it acquired in 2015. When complete, it will feature 23 rooms and undergo a rebrand as the 1852 Hotel.
Peter Ringland said on the back of the success of The Flint Hotel, the brothers are now planning to upscale the business by taking the franchise to Britain.
He said the growing hospitality group are eyeing up opportunities for new hotels in Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle.
Reflecting on the past 12 months, the 29-year-old said despite an apparent oversupply of hotel rooms in Belfast on the back of a series of new openings in the past year, the company had successfully tapped into a younger demographic in Belfast.
Virtually all bookings for its upmarket and stylish accommodation are coming via online, with The Flint rising to the top of the rankings on many popular online booking sites.
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"Demand has been really, really strong for the product we're offering, which is small studio-type rooms with a kitchenette," he said.
"We are competing at the top of the market and we have been able to flourish. We've shot up to the second most highly rated hotel in Belfast, according to TripAdvisor. We set our target at the 20 to 40-year-olds and that's exactly what we've done. It's been really popular with the millennials who just want that bit more flexibility when they come to a city. Now they'll be able to eat in their own room or come up to the rooftop bar and restaurant, or they can go down to the many restaurants that are within 10 seconds of our front door."
Work on the new rooftop bar and restaurant is expected to begin in the next three to four months, with the official opening planned for the summer of 2020.
It's understood that the new bar will be the main focus of the new rooftop venue, with a small plate menu and open-fire pizza oven included.
The new outdoor terrace is expected to contain space for around 60 to 80 people. It will join Town Square on Botanic Avenue as the second restaurant in the Ringland Group's hospitality portfolio.
Their success to date has prompted the Ringland Group to look beyond Northern Ireland to expand.
"We're actively looking to expand The Flint brand, which would mean opening another hotel in another UK city," said Mr Ringland.
"We're looking at Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester. We'd love to expand that Flint brand and scale it up."