Pub and club tycoon Billy Lowe, whose portfolio featured the likes of Sneaky Pete’s, Biddy Mulligans and the Jekyll and Hyde, has sold off the last of his empire to follow his dreams.
The entrepreneur has handed over the keys to Le Monde in George Street and Angels Share in the West End in a multi-million-pound deal.
The 55-year-old said he wanted to focus on golf, watching Hibs, spending more time with his family – and becoming a film producer.
He has already worked with producer Ken Petrie of 27ten Productions, who joined the industry as a special effects technician specialising in pyrotechnics and explosives.
A member of Bafta and the Institute of Explosives Engineers, his skills have been used on blockbusters such as War Horse, Robin Hood, Safe House, World War Z, White House Down and Muppets Most Wanted.
Billy has supported Petrie’s most recent film, The Gift, starring Xander Berkeley, and enjoyed success with a theatre production of Riding the Midnight Express, which was shown on Broadway, Soho in London and at last year’s Edinburgh Festival.
Despite selling his Saltire Taverns to the Glendola Leisure Group, he plans to keep an eye on his old venues as a consultant.
But he intends to make the most of his newly found spare time with wife Karin and children Hannah, 26, Billy, 25, Lucy, 22, and David, 20 – as well as their two lhasa apso dogs, Rocky and Olly.
Billy, from Colinton, said: “I wanted to take a bit of time out, away from the stress and anxiety, to enjoy the things I love while I am still young enough.
“My main driver is having the free time to spend with my family.
“I love the cinema and I love the theatre, and most of my travels involve going to see the latest and most popular shows.
“I’m a bit of a film buff and I want to work with other like-minded people.
“It’s a case of finding the free time to do all these things that I have wanted to do without worrying about work.”
The deal, which was concluded on Friday, includes Le Monde hotel “and its associated businesses”, and Angels Share.
Billy first arrived on the pub scene when he set up Thistle Inns in 1988, before selling it to Scottish Brewers in 1997.
He went on to build up a new portfolio of bars and clubs, including the Rutland Hotel, Espionage and Frankenstein, before expanding to Aberdeen and Glasgow.
Saltire Taverns became an Edinburgh-based bar and hotel-led venture following the purchase of a building in George Street, which Billy transformed into Le Monde Hotel, before snapping up the Hudson, which he revamped and renamed Angel’s Share.
The sale to Glendola Leisure sees the group add to an estate which currently includes Waxy O’Connor’s, Alston Bar & Beef and Horton’s in Glasgow.