New bowling alley opens in city centre

A YORKSHIRE bar group plans to roll out a chain of boutique bowling alleys for adults over the next five years after launching the first one today (THURS).

Bar Jones Group managing director, Matthew Jones; John Barraclough of Holbeck Land and Bar Jones Group finance director Ben Jones.

Jones Bar Group is opening Roxy Lanes, its latest leisure venture, at Pinnacle Leeds, creating 27 new jobs.

The Leeds-based company invested £280,000 in the project, which features four full-size bowling lanes imported from a specialist manufacture in the US.

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Roxy Lanes will also include a 50-cover restaurant providing American diner-style food, including pizzas and burgers, cocktails and craft beers, 90-seats and a 180-capacity. It is the eighth bar venue opened by Jones Bar Group in the last 10 years.

The venue will create seven new full-time, and 20 part-time, jobs. This is the second new leisure concept launched by Jones Bar Group in Leeds which opened Roxy Ballroom, a bar and restaurant combined with table tennis and pool tables, on Boar Lane last December.

Matthew Jones, managing director of Jones Bar Group, said: “We spotted a gap in the market with Roxy Lanes by giving a quality lift to the old-style concept of bowling alleys and linking it to good food and a cocktail bar in a comfortable, up-market setting.

“Pinnacle Leeds offers a first-rate location within Leeds’ commercial and retail districts, making it ideal for corporate events, and has fantastic footfall potential, especially as we will open at 12 noon seven days week.”

Jones Bar Group was founded by Mr Jones and his brother, finance director Ben, in 2004.

The company, which has a £5.5m turnover and 35 full-time staff, also owns Bar 166 & Bistro, Horsforth and The Shed Bar, Brooklyn Bar, Hirst’s Yard, 51% Bourbon and NY Burger Kitchen in Leeds city centre.

In addition to Roxy Lanes, it is also launching LAB bar at the Merrion Centre, near Leeds Arena, on Monday.

Matthew Jones said: “We signed the lease for LAB 18 months ago but it has taken a while to sort out.

“In the meantime we were playing pool in the Elbow Rooms in Leeds and talking about what we could do next that would be a bit different. We said something like the Elbow Rooms would be good - where there is food and drink and also an activity.

“There are a couple of operators who are doing the same thing with bowling alleys, table tennis and pool tables in Manchester and other cities but we are the first in Leeds.”

Jones Bar Group now plans to roll out 12 venues under the Roxy brand over the next five years.

It expects turnover to rise to £7.5m in the next 12-18 months.

“We would like to stay fairly close to home so we have looked at Sheffield, Harrogate and York so far,” Mr Jones said.

He added: “It’s difficult because there is only room for one or two of these concepts in any large city and a lot of operators are already eyeing up cities they want to be in so we have to act fast.

“We would like to situate Roxy Ballrooms and Roxy Lanes near each other close to offices and financial districts in city centres so customers can go from one to the other.”

Pinnacle Leeds, formerly known as West Riding House, was acquired by Moorfield Group (Moorfield) on behalf of Moorfield Real Estate Fund II in 2011.

Roxy Lanes is leasing a 5,300 sq ft unit above Tesco Express on Bond Street in a part of the building known as the Podium.

John Barraclough, Holbeck Land spokesman, said: “Securing a cutting-edge leisure facility is a significant coup for Pinnacle Leeds and fantastic for Leeds city centre.

“Roxy Lanes is our first dedicated leisure letting, adding to our diverse retail tenants which include Joy, Superdrug, Moss Bros, Next, Pret a Manger, Wish, Greggs and Tesco Express and another benefit for our office tenants and their clients.”

DTZ and Colliers are letting agents for Pinnacle. Pudney Shuttleworth, Savills and Barker Proudlove are the retail and leisure agents for the Podium at the Pinnacle.