THE new owners of a popular York bar are transforming it in to an American-style bar and grill with a £240,000 investment set to create 30 new jobs.

The Stonegate Pub Company, which bought the Living Room chain in August last year, is turning York’s Living Room in Bridge Street into a Missoula - Montana Bar & Grill.

The move will see the Living Room brand leave York after almost ten years in the city.

Following the takeover of the Living Room chain, the Stonegate Pub Company now owns and operates eight licensed premises in York, employing more than 244 people in the city through its portfolio of bars and restaurants which include Slug and Lettuce, Yates, Varsity, Classic Inns, Local Pubs, Great Traditional Pubs, Scream, Bars & Venues, Missoula, Living Room, and Smith & Jones.

Missoula - Montana Bar & Grill is a new venture for the company, with York’s bar only the second to be opened by Stonegate following the brand’s launch in Milton Keynes before Christmas.

The decor, and food and drink offering are inspired by the American state of Montana, with ‘Bison Burgers’ and waffles featuring on the menu, while the bar boasts seven ‘world beers’ as well as 14 classic cocktails and 11 signature cocktails.

The investment, which follows £570,000 already invested in the city through the Stonegate’s ongoing refurbishment programme, will create 30 new jobs under the operation of new manager Chris Smith.

All Living Room staff had previously been transferred to Stonegate when they bought the chain last year.

Vince Williams from the Stonegate Pub Company said: “We are delighted to be bringing Missoula - Montana Bar & Grill to York.

“Through years of operating successful businesses within the city, we know that there is a real demand from the residents and visitors of York for a quality drinking and dining experience that offers exceptional customer service and fantastic food.

“This is why we believe Missoula - Montana Bar & Grill will become a firm favourite amongst of the citizens of York.”

A customer training service programme, led by Montana born and bred Molly Smith, is already underway ahead of the new bar’s opening on February 14.

The Living Room opened in York in May 2004, as a 150-cover restaurant and a 250-capacity bar, in Bridge Street, following a £950,000 investment from the chain’s previous owners Living Ventures.

The company transformed the ground floor of the Merchant Exchange on the River Ouse to create its tenth Living Room bar in the country.