Sherlock’s Bar in Clarendon Road, Southsea opened on July 4 last year – the first day that bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen in England after the first lockdown.
Co-owners, partners Richard Peckham and Debbie Moorhead, both from Southsea, invested around £10,000 into refurbishing and redesigning the venue to take it from the former café to now a bar.
They opened with a plan to open temporarily for six months to see if the business would survive, then make a decision on whether to make it a permanent fixture.
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Richard said: ‘Before that first day we opened, I turned and said to Debbie “I wonder if anyone will even walk in” and by the end of our first full day of trading 11 hours later, we both knew that we’d be there for good.
‘We’ve survived two lockdowns and not only have we managed to stay afloat, but we’re a profitable and successful business. I’d say we’re not just surviving but are thriving.’
The pair, who are both in their 50s, wanted to open the bar after struggling to find a place in the city to go that was suitable for people their age, with lots of them suited to younger crowds.
They have now signed a long-term lease and so far, the business has gone from strength to strength and Richard and Debbie hope to add to their existing offering, which currently includes regular live music, karaoke and quiz nights and more from Thursday to Sunday nights, as well as venue hire for private functions.
They plan to extend the bar’s opening hours and introduce a dining element, with hopes to make use of the full-sized industrial kitchen in the new year.
Richard said: ‘We can’t wait to see what the future holds for Sherlocks as we incorporate more things into our offering to provide even more value to Southsea.’
Sherlocks has also been the temporary home for Portsmouth-based charity, Spark Community Space for the last six months, allowing the charity to hold coffee mornings two days a week to raise money and bring people together.
Debbie said: ‘We’re incredibly proud of what we have built here in Southsea. It’s amazing to be offering something that isn’t just a great place for people to come but is giving something back to the community.’