Platform 5 pulls in to Haymarket

Belhaven targets further expansion of managed estate as Edinburgh pub opens

• Platform 5 is the latest outlet in Belhaven’s 95-strong portfolio of unbranded managed pubs.

A NEW Platform has appeared in Edinburgh’s Haymarket.

But it is not in the revamped train station, or even part of the new trams network – although it looks set to benefit from both.
Platform 5 is, in fact, the newest pub in Belhaven’s growing managed estate.
The new outlet opened on May 1 in a vacant retail unit that forms part of the accommodation-only, 179-bedroom Tune Hotel at Haymarket.
Belhaven acquired the premises on a 25-year lease and, at the turn of this year, embarked on a four-month, £1.2 million revamp.
Working with Burns Design and contractor Hugh Stirling – partners with Belhaven on previous pub refurbishments – the pubco has transformed the empty space into a “contemporary” venue with “broad appeal”.
As Kenny MacKenzie, operations director for pubs at Belhaven told SLTN last week, the brief was straightforward: to create an outlet that would cater for hotel guests, locals and passing trade.
“We called it Platform 5 because there are four platforms in Haymarket station,” he said.
“Because of its location, we wanted a loose travel theme without it being too obvious.
“It has worked out really well.
“There is a good mix of open space and lots of booths; it is a contemporary bar that will have broad appeal – whether it is youngsters on a budget staying in the hotel or passing trade.”
And it is not just Platform 5’s interior that has been designed to appeal to a broad customer base.
The pub’s food offer is intended to cater for everyone from hotel guests to office workers and passing trade, with a menu that ranges from breakfast (Platform 5 opens at 7am) through to “quality pub grub”.
Draught beer is also a major focus at Platform 5. There are 15 different beers available on draught, including Belhaven Best and Greene King IPA as well as Innis & Gunn, St Mungo and cask ales by Inveralmond and other local brewers.
Kenny said he is confident that Platform 5, which is being managed by Stuart Forbes, who has worked his way up through the ranks in Belhaven’s managed pubs, will prove popular with customers.
It is also one of the latest outlets to join Belhaven’s expanding managed estate in Scotland, which currently sits at 110 pubs – 95 of which are unbranded venues, with the remainder operating under one of parent company Greene King’s brands, such as Hungry Horse, Eating Inn and Farmhouse Inns.
And, according to Kenny, Belhaven is hopeful of more managed pubs on the horizon.
Belhaven has also acquired Clark & Sons in Clarkston, on the south side of Glasgow, which it plans to spend £500,000 refurbishing; and it is investing £200,000 on a revamp of the 20-bedroom Greyfriars Hotel in St Andrews – another recent addition to its portfolio.
“We are expanding and we have got a lot of job opportunities,” said Kenny.
“We try to grow our own managers through our management development programme highlighting a clear route for people to progress from bar staff to supervisor and beyond.”