Managed pub operator the Authentic Pub Co has acquired two former Orchid Pub Company sites in Surrey.
The agreement with the administrators of the Orchid estate (most of which was sold last year to restaurant group Mitchells & Butlers) brings Authentic's total estate to six pubs, and marks the first step in the company's stated plans to expand into Surrey.
Both sites were developed under Orchid's Dragon concept, which unites the principles of a local pub, with a Thai restaurant and takeaway. The Norbiton & Dragon (Norbiton), and the White Lyon & Dragon (Worplesdon), have kept their existing teams, who will now be retrained under respective new general managers Carl Elliott and Thom Harland.
The move has meant that Authentic Pub Co is now the sole operator of the Dragon format.
Authentic is also planning to roll out its Thai menu at one of its existing sites, the Kings Arms in Epsom, with existing Dragon Thai chef Winai Thepmalai set to move into the kitchen.
Authentic Pub Co director and co-founder Simon Bailey said: "We feel very positive about taking over the Dragon concept, which is a proven success. Reflecting our name, it allows us to offer Thai food as well as British food, both as part of an Authentic Pub experience. That enables us to look at a wider range of pubs as we continue to expand."
Formerly known as Absolute Pubs, the Authentic Pub Co is a family-owned business, founded by Bailey and his wife Sarah (both pictured) in 2008.
Its other sites currently number the Kings Arms in Epsom, the Waggon & Horses in Surbiton (both leased from Ram Pub Company); the Bell Inn in Hampton, leased from Punch Taverns; and the Flower Pot in Lower Sunbury, leased from Brakspear.