Matthew Mooney, owner of the Belle Epoque restaurant, is to take over neighbouring Cheshire pub the Freemasons’ Arms.
After closing for a short time for refurbishment, it is expected to re-open in the first week of July under a new name, which is yet to be announced.
The news comes just over a year after the team relaunched the Knutsford Rose n Crown pub as a chop house in March 2013. The same group will now relaunch the Freemasons’ Arms site – which is within walking distance of both the Rose n Crown and the Belle Epoque.
The new site will seat 60 inside, and also have six hotel bedrooms. It will be decorated in a bohemian manner, aiming to create a relaxed drinking and dining atmosphere reminiscent of Mooney’s other venues, but still unique in style. Food will be locally-sourced from nearby farmers and suppliers, alongside cask ales, wine and cocktails.
There will also be a 40-seat outdoor space for people wanting to eat outside, or host summer events, and the pub will also offer Wi-Fi, and share a car park with the Rose n Crown.
Commenting on the new opening, Mooney said: “We have enjoyed an incredible 14 months at the Rose n Crown Chop House, and it is the team there that have led us in to taking over the Freemasons and creating a sister pub. As it is practically a neighbour to us, logistically it makes sense. We look forward to nurturing this new venue and creating a pub that both Knutsfordians and visitors to the town can truly enjoy and feel a part of.”
Mooney took over the famous Belle Epoque restaurant from his uncle and father, who originally set it up over 40 years ago. He won the Marketing Catey award for his work in rebranding the Belle Epoque as a brasserie in the recession-hit 90s.
The Caterer Interview – Matthew Mooney >>