City centre pub

How to buy a pub in a city centre

Every town centre in the UK is different, but if you want to invest in or run a pub in a city-centre location there are a number of key factors that are common to all.

Finding a location

When identifying a potential property, the first and probably most obvious thing to look for is location. The most successful operators have a prime position on the main circuit, which means they are close to other bars, pubs and restaurants and therefore the site ensures a high footfall to help to get the customers through the door.

Finding pub property for sale

The actual property itself also needs a lot of attention. Good frontage is an important requirement as visibility is crucial. Having a large dining area and trade kitchen are often desired as the option to provide a good food offer, particularly an all-day one, have been proving very successful in town centres. Arguably a property with a trade garden or external drinking area will also be more successful in a town. In other words, the goal is to find a property that enables you to establish a pub that creates a destination.


Researching the competition is vital. For example, you will want to compare licensing agreements – you might be able to extend a property’s licence to add value. An understanding of what is already available will also help an operator or investor work out what could be successful and where a pub could provide a unique offering.

The local community

Look at the demographic of the town to work out who your target market is. Is there a large student population or number of office workers? You can then find out what demographic is already catered for and where there is demand.

It is important to remember a town centre pub is part of the community and being able to engage with local residents or workers is an effective way of securing loyal customers. This can include sponsoring a local sports team, offering to hold community events and giving discounts to other local businesses. 

As long as the key fundamentals are there to provide a good quality offer in a strong location within the town, then a pub will normally always be successful.

Further information

Contact Savills Leisure Agency for more details.

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