Pioneering bar entrepreneur Rob Gutmann continues to reshuffle his pack of designer drinking venues in Liverpool with the sale of Raven at Albert Dock to rival leisure trade rising star Rob Preston.
Preston and his business partners in Pax Leisure Group have paid an undisclosed fee for the bar, taking their growing stable to three in the city. Gutmann sold Alma de Cuba, a spectacular looking nightspot in Ropewalks, housed in a converted church, to Preston two years ago.
In October, Preston and co announced they had acquired the Heywood Building off Castle Street in the business district to turn into a hotel and bar/restaurant.
Gutmann, meanwhile, has been forced to close several bars and suburban pubs in the city in the past year due to slowing sales.
His stable has halved from a high of ten to five. Remaining are Low Bar and Negresco, both on Lark Lane in Aigburth, Zeligs and Dynomat in Liverpool One in the city centre. Korova, his New York punk-era themed venture on Fleet Street, co-owned with Liverpool pop group Ladytron, has relocated from its original home and moved to Hope Street.
His bars are famed for their elaborate interiors often based on filmic themes such as a gothic opera (Negresco) or Pulp Fiction (Dynomat).
Gutmann is credited with starting the trend for fancy bars aimed at cash-rich dressy young punters in 1994 with Lyceum on Bold Street and, later, Blue Bar & Grill at the Albert Dock. Both were later sold. His joint venture with Cream nightclub founder James Barton, Baby Cream, closed several weeks ago. His other Albert Dock venues, Pan American Club and Circo, were both also sold. Three pubs in Woolton village, South Liverpool, were all closed, and another on Penny Lane sold. The Negresco on Manchester's Deansgate closed in August.
All parties were unavailable for comment.