Belfast Telegraph

Belfast's new Doyen bar prepares for launch at former King’s Head

By Emma Deighan

Eighty jobs have been created as Belfast’s newest bar, The Doyen, prepares to open its doors after a £4.2m investment. The former King’s Head venue on the Lisburn Road, which was bought by Wine Inns in 2016, has undergone a revamp to make way to a 15,000 sq ft entertainment and dining complex.

When King’s Head closed last year, the 20 staff members who were part of the original team  were relocated to different Wine Inns premises.

The company said that many of the old staff members stayed in their replacement venues making the team of 80 now employed at Doyen mostly new recruits.

They will work under general manager Andrew Rylands who previously worked at Cutters Wharf, another venue in the Wine Inns group.

The Doyen is the latest venture from the hospitality group, which owns a string of Belfast pubs including The Empire, the Alibi club and The Chelsea. It will officially open to the public next Thursday.

Breaking down its multi-million pound investment, Wine Inns told the Belfast Telegraph that it spent £2.3m buying The King’s Head in January 2016 and a further £1.5m on the new renovations. It has invested a further £400,000 on other areas of the business, including marketing and training.

The Doyen will feature a traditional public bar serving a gastropub menu daily with a large outdoor seating area, a cafe bar which opens from early morning, as well as a family-friendly, Italian-themed restaurant upstairs called Morso and private rooms catering for parties up to 140.

The main bar at Doyen will offer live evening entertainment from Wednesday to Saturday and will feature indoor, outdoor and drop-down screens for sports fans.

A secret snug bar for 30 guests with specialised cocktails will also be revealed on a special launch night next week. The cafe bar, a new element to the property, will specialise in crafted coffee, brunch and prosecco, gin and cocktails.

Patrick Hunt, director of Wine Inns, said: “We have taken the character of the old venue and created two totally new concepts in The Doyen and Morso. We’re confident that local residents and those from further afield are going to love them.

“From tapping into passing commuter traffic by ensuring our new venue’s cafe bar serves excellent coffee and breakfast from 8am to showing all the big sports fixtures, our customers can be sure of a very warm welcome on every visit.”

General manager Andrew Rylands said: “The Doyen will be a fantastic new addition to the Wine Inns portfolio and it’s a huge honour for me to lead our talented team ahead of the opening of the venue.

“With family-friendly food in Morso, and great cocktails and loads of live sport in The Doyen, we’re really offering something for everyone and are looking forward to welcoming customers new and old back to the famous venue on the Lisburn Road.”

The site on which The Doyen is located was first licensed as a bar in 1981. The King’s Head previously traded under Botanic Inns which went into administration in 2013.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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