Master of Enterprise (MEnt) student hopes to add fizz to his two Manchester city centre bars

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Manchester champagne bar Epernay and Taps Restaurant & Bar have been sold to young entrepreneur and current Master of Enterprise (MEnt) student Chris Payne, 22.

Chris acquired the city centre bars in a six figure deal with support from NatWest. He will run both Epernay and Taps, located in Petersfield in the Great Northern Square, as part of his new VCP Taverns enterprise. The bars currently employ 25 people.

Chris started working in pubs at the age of 16, which he says gave him the drive and ambition to start a leisure business of his own. He said he had always wanted to open a sport bar, but when they started looking at business opportunities, he came across Epernay and Taps.

He said: “We had been looking for the right opportunity for the business so when we learned Taps and Epernay were for sale, we jumped at the chance to buy them. Both are fantastic establishments that are well-known in the city each offering different experiences.

“At Taps you are drawn in with the incredible range of different beers on tap – 16 in total, which you can also pour yourself on the ‘beer wall’. Alternatively, Epernay offers a luxurious service, providing world class cocktails in a beautiful setting. They are both distinct and offer great service to customers.”

When the time came to buy the bars, Chris turned to NatWest relationship manager John Platt for support. John secured a loan through the banks’ participation in the Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme to support the acquisition.

Jonathan Styles, Director of the Master of Enterprise (MEnt) at Manchester Enterprise Centre said: “It’s great to see another fledgling business leave the MEC nest. Chris has shown strong entrepreneurial spirit in spotting the potential that Epernay and Taps have to offer; I am confident that he will make these two bars a big success and that we will be hearing more great stories from this budding serial entrepreneur.”

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