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Bristol steakhouse to open second venue in Clifton

After a successful first 10 months trading, the owner of Bristol steakhouse The Cow & Sow has secured a licence for a second venue in the city – with support from law firm Shakespeare Martineau.

The first contemporary chophouse opened in January 2022, serving up local prime cuts and small plates from its Queen Square restaurant. Now, it is set to branch out from its city centre roots into the city’s suburbs, with a new restaurant due to open in the former Cowshed, in Whiteladies Road, Clifton, on 9 December – creating 30 full and part-time roles.

Mark Warburton, managing director of the OHH Pub Company, which runs a number of popular pubs in the South West, including The Old House At Home in Wiltshire and The Bear & Swan in Somerset, said: “I am thrilled to be expanding The Cow & Sow brand, which has been performing above expectations since it opened in the New Year, following a full refurbishment of the once iconic Cowshed restaurant.

“I am good friends with Adam – the owner of Ruby & White butchers and the former Cowshed, which previously occupied the site – so I have plenty of inside information about the venue’s pros and cons. There are some great venues popping up in the Clifton area and Whiteladies Road, in particular, is an area that is back on the rise and we want to be a part of that. This is a prime opportunity for me to test the resilience of the brand without stretching resources too far or disrupting trade at our Queen Square venue.

“As the founder and sole director and having been in hospitality for my entire life, I am very clear with my plans not to become another corporate and lose sight of the family-built touch. This will be the toughest part of growth, but with the right people beside me, I feel there may be scope to move into other cosmopolitan cities.”

The restaurant will open between 10am and 12pm Monday to Saturday and between 12pm and 11.30pm on Sundays, serving lunch, main, Sunday and light bite menus.

Melissa Toney, food safety and regulatory lead at Shakespeare Martineau’s Bristol hub, supported Mr Warburton with the licensing application, which was granted in November 2022.

She said: “I am incredibly excited for the second instalment of The Cow & Sow restaurant. One of the best feelings is to be able to support a client in getting their vision over the line, especially when they put their all into it. Getting the new premise licence for the venue was fun and challenging all at once, but that makes it all the more worthwhile.

“Whiteladies Road is one of the more notorious night-time economy areas for Bristol, which, years ago, was full of bars, restaurants and clubs all heavily attended by the city’s huge student populations. The area took a massive hit about five years ago, with some of the more sustainable sites falling to one side and, following the Covid-19 pandemic, the entire area completely lost its vitality.

“With this in mind, it is no surprise Bristol City Council took the stance to remove this area from the cumulative impact zone list in an effort to encourage licenced premises back into the area. This approach is part of the council’s wider policy approach to support hospitality and to re-build the night-time economy.

“However, it makes for a different set of challenges when making licence applications, so instead of the usual responsible authorities responding to concerns about crime and disorder, the only representations we had were from the noise pollution team, which were more concerned about any noise to residents in the area – a true reflection of how much the area had changed in profile.

“Despite this, now is a good time for businesses wanting to support in rebuilding the night-time economy as the council and other such authorities are far more receptive to applications, so hurdles that may have existed before may not be as onerous now.”