The five pubs sold for a sum reported to be in excess of €3.5 million (£3m) are The Old Courthouse in Coleraine, The Spinning Mill in Ballymena, The Linen Hall in Enniskillen and The Diamond and The Ice Wharf in Derry.
These have now been added to the pubs owned and operated by The Granny Annie’s group in Derry, Limavady and Belfast and the group will be commencing a £3m renovation programme early next year.
The staff at the five Wetherspoon pubs are to be transferred to Willis and Ryan McLaughlin’s Granny Annie’s group with no job losses according to Wetherspoon’s Chairman Tim Martin who added that his group hoped to open two more pubs in Belfast “in the near future”.
This would entail an investment of £4.5m to create over 100 jobs in the two sites – the former retail outlet JJB Sports in Royal Avenue and a former Methodist Church in University Road.
In addition to Belfast, Wetherspoon’s also retains its pubs in Newtonards, Carrickfergus and Lisburn and it intends to develop a new beer garden at The Bridge House in Belfast subject to planning permission.