One of Belfast city centre's best known pubs will receive a £1m revamp bringing 40 new jobs, after it was taken on by new tenants, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The Fountain in Fountain Street has now been snapped up by growing hospitality company Clover Group.
The group of four pub entrepreneurs already runs a string of bars in the city centre, including the former Morrisons Bar, now Pug Uglys.
It has also snapped up the former Basement Bar and opened Henry's and The Jailhouse, next to McCraken's.
In their latest move, they will now be running the Fountain Bar and Restaurant.
JAR (IRE) Ltd, the property arm of a wider business including drinks wholesaler Drinks INC, is the owner of the Fountain.
Andrew Maxwell, director of Clover, said: “The Fountain is an established bar with enormous potential in a bustling part of our city, ideally located for shoppers, commuters and those looking to enjoy a night out.
“We want to enhance the outstanding features of the bar and its location, maintaining its traditional integrity for existing and new customers alike.”
Clover Group launched art deco inspired bar Margo at the former Basement Bar in Donegall Street last month.
And the group says its investment in the Fountain will work well alongside a separate plan by a company linked with building firm McAleer & Rushe for a new hotel and Grade A offices on the site of the nearby Norwich Union building.
Clover Group said it hopes to make the Fountain a bigger part of events in the city by applying for a street trading licence.
The other three pub entrepreneurs involved in Clover are Mark Beirne, Paul Langsford and Jim Conlon.
Colin Neill, chief executive of pub body Hospitality NI, said the news signalled the gradual spread of the city’s nightlife from the Cathedral Quarter to other areas.
“Anything adding to the pub stock of Belfast has to be welcomed. Mark knows how to run good bars and will put his mark on the Fountain Bar,” he said.