The Electric Pub Company continues to grow and expand as it adds even more businesses and ideas - including a new seafood restaurant.

The company, established by Alasdair Warren and Steve Killingbeck in May 2019 with the objective of building a portfolio of freehold pubs across Dorset, has now acquired Morrish and Banham.

The independent Dorset wine merchant joins The Pymore Inn in Bridport, the first purchase of the Electric Pub Company, The Antelope Inn at Hazelbury Bryan and The Elm Tree Inn and Langton Herring, which was bought earlier this year. It also manages the Electric Lounge at Bridport Electric Palace and the Bridport Arts Centre.

As part of the acquisition, Mark Banham - who founded Morrish and Banham with Caroline Morrish in 2015 - will join the Electric Pub Company as a director to oversee the wine offering at the existing. He will also help with the purchase and development of more venues across Dorset for the Electric Pub Company.

Mr Banham said: “We are delighted to be joining the Electric Pub Company. They have a proven record in the purchase and development of pubs which offer great food and drink. We are pleased to be part of their expansion plans and look forward to using our skills and experience to create even better food and beverage experiences across Dorset.”

Mr Banham will also join the team to open a new seafood restaurant, bar and café in Bridport Arts Centre.

Mr Warren and Mr Killingbeck said: “We are very excited by the prospect of the Bridport Arts Club Restaurant, which will use the café and bar area at the arts centre, together the piazza at the front of the building and the rear garden. The rest of the building will continue as a community-focussed performing arts venue and gallery, as it always has.

“George Marsh - ex-head chef at the Riverside Restaurant - has joined as executive chef and will lead the chef team with a classic seafood menu that will also feature local meats, some of which will be supplied from our flock, as well as vegan and gluten free options. Mark Banham will manage the wine offering and front of house service, providing an attentive but relaxed style of service.”

Although the pubs owned by the Electric Pub Company have now be able to reopen, Bridport Arts Centre and Electric Palace remain closed. However, it is hoped films can start to be shown again this summer.

Mr Warren added: “Social distancing makes performing arts and cinema venues challenging places to operate, particularly when you are operating in older, smaller buildings. That being said, the recent relaxation of the lockdown and social distancing rules means that we should be able to re-start screenings and films at some point during the summer, albeit with a significantly reduced capacity, “The arts centre and Electric Palace are working closely together and evaluating how best to do this in a safe way.

“Please remember what both venues have brought to Bridport over many years and come back and support us when we reopen.”