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FounderPeter and Simon Yates
Porter Tun House, 500 Capability Green, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU1 3LS
Number of locations
Area served
ParentYates Group plc (1986–2004)
Laurel Pub Company (2004–11)
Stonegate Pub Company (2011–)
SubsidiariesHa! Ha! Bar & Canteen (former)

Yates is a British pub chain, founded as Yates's Wine Lodge in Oldham, Lancashire, by Peter and Simon Yates in 1884.[1] The chain remained strongest in the North of England, though spreading nationwide.


Yates Wine Lodge, High Street, in Oldham (1927)
Yates's, St James's Street, Burnley

It is Britain's oldest pub chain.[2] Its motto was moderation is true temperance. Peter Yates (22 April 1854–1944), the founder, came from Preston. He was sent to Spain to learn about wine, and his brother went to the US to learn about business methods.

The first Yates Wine Lodge opened in Oldham in 1884.[2] Peter died in 1944 at the age of 90. The company was based at 54 Carnarvon Street in Manchester until 1997.[citation needed]

In earlier times, it invented its own range of drinks which it called Blobs, which consisted of sweet Australian wine and brandy, (a fortified wine), sugar, lemon and hot water. The interior of the pubs had a Victoriana feel and look.

The late 1990s Cool Britannia hedonistic era was (financially and culturally) the most lucrative time for the pub brand. This was also the introduction of alcopops, which supercharged Britain's pub culture, and benefited Yates's.

By 2004, it had disposed of the Victoriana feel of its pubs, and sales improved.[citation needed]


Public company[edit]

It was owned by the Yates Group plc (Yates Brothers Wine Lodges plc) from 23 July 1994. Yates Group also owned Ha! Ha! Bar & Canteen. It also operated pubs under the Blob Shop and Addisons name. In the late 1990s its share price reached 550p in 1998 – its highest price.

In June 2001, it entered takeover talks with Luminar Group. In July 2001 it withdrew from takeover talks and said it would sell off 25 of its pubs, later putting 18 up for sale. On 1 November 2001 it sold 8 pubs to Morrells for £4 million, with four being in Grantham, Slough, Solihull and Tunbridge Wells.

On 7 November 2001, it announced it would not continue the Wine Lodge suffix on its name, and would be known only as Yates's. It planned to open 12 pubs in 2002, with some under the Ha! Ha! name, which was a success.

In September 2002, Mark Jones joined the company as Chief Executive, when Mike Hennessy was Chairman. The group had 127 Yates's pubs and 18 Ha! Ha! pubs. By late 2003 it had 25 Ha! Ha! pubs, and in April of that year its share price had dropped to 49p.

In October 2003, Yates sold its Aussie White fortified brand to Halewood International for £1m.[3]

Management buyout[edit]

When 30% of the company was owned by the Dickson and Yates family, in June 2004 the company had a management buyout (MBO) offer funded by GI Partners.[4] The company was valued at £98.4 million at 140p a share. The company employed 4,000 people. GI Partners only received 16% of acceptances from shareholders, not the 90% it was looking for, but the bid proceeded in October 2004.

Takeover by Laurel Pub Company[edit]

By 2005 the group had grown to 125 Yates's and 25 Ha! Ha! bars. In April 2005, the company was approached by the Tchenguiz-owned Laurel Pub Company and a £200m merger was completed on 20 May 2005. A few weeks later Laurel bought many of the sites belonging to the bankrupt SFI group who owned Slug and Lettuce.


On 27 March 2008, Laurel was put into administration[5] and the majority of the units were purchased by Town & City Pub Company, essentially a re-branded Laurel Pub Company. Since that time a major investment programme has been commenced which has led to the opening of a number of new Yates's across the country. In 2011 Town & City was bought by the Stonegate Pub Company, a group of former Bass pubs that included many ex-Firkin sites now trading as Goose or Scream Pubs.


There are still more than 70 Yates pubs or bars in the UK, although there is no longer one in Oldham.[6] The site of the original Yates's Wine Lodge is now a McDonald's and is marked by a plaque on Oldham High Street. Some Yates have been converted to Slug and Lettuce pubs in recent years.

Yates is best known as a late-night style of establishment, although in recent years the brand has diversified into food and family offerings to compete with others such as Wetherspoons.

Yates's Aussie White continues to be made by Halewood International and is sold in 35-centilitre, 70-centilitre and 1.5-litre containers.[7]


  1. ^ Anon (1996). Bygone Oldham. True North Publishing. ISBN 1-900463-25-3.
  2. ^ a b Connor, John (2014). The inns and alehouses of Stafford: Through the North Gate. Kibworth Beauchamp: Troubador Publishing Ltd. p. 124. ISBN 9781783064250. OCLC 879400627.
  3. ^ http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/Drinks/Wine/Yates-in-1m-wine-deal
  4. ^ Management buyout
  5. ^ Laurel Pubs bought by Tchenguiz-backed companies Yahoo! Finance[dead link]
  6. ^ "More about Yates's, your local bar restaurant". Archived from the original on 17 September 2009. Retrieved 2 October 2009.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 December 2015. Retrieved 6 December 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]