Emsworth and Horndean entrepreneurs get permission to open micropub

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‘We are really excited to get this one going and push it forward. We will open as soon as we can.’

Those were the words of the joint-owner of The Escapist — a micropub which has been given the go-ahead.

Tom Owen and Steve Pottinger who are the new owners and landlords of the forthcoming Escapist, a micropub in Crane St, Chichester

Tom Owen and Steve Pottinger who are the new owners and landlords of the forthcoming Escapist, a micropub in Crane St, Chichester

Tom Owen, of Emsworth, and Steve Pottinger, of Horndean, are the owners and landlords of The Escapist, a micropub that will open in Crane Street, Chichester. 

The application for the micropub to replace vacant vintage clothing shop, One Legged Jockey was given the nod by councillors last month. 

Tom, 30, and business partner Steve, 25, are behind the new venture.

Tom said: ‘We want it to be a welcome environment for people to come and enjoy themselves with friends or people who they haven't met yet.

Tom Owen and Steve Pottinger

Tom Owen and Steve Pottinger

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‘It is our first venture in Chichester and it is just the right place for it. It feels like there has been a turn in the tide with there being more independents, particularly in Crane Street, and this can only be good for the high street. We don't want it to die. We want it to diversify.

‘We like the feeling of independence. We will hopefully offer a niche which people haven't yet found. We will look to offer the best cost for the consumer.’

Tom, who also runs a pop-up events business in London and Hertfordshire, said running a bar is something he and Steve 'really wanted to do'.

‘We have both been involved in the industry and we want to get back into it,’ he said. ‘We have both been in and out of different jobs and different careers but not really settled.

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‘We wanted to take control and do something we really love. It is not a normal job but it is something we are really passionate about.

‘We are really happy that we've been given the green light and are excited to get started.

‘Having found the site about a year ago, It's been a long process and we just want to get stuck in now but it's great that we've got to this point.’

Tom, who has previously worked as a barman at the Monaco Grand Prix, said an opening date has not yet been decided, with some internal building work required.

He added: ‘We will open as soon as we can. We are really excited to get this one going and push it forward. Opening a smaller pub is more manageable and something we can hopefully build on.’

The design and access statement, submitted to Chichester District Council for consideration in May, said a 'relaxed and social micropub' will be a welcome addition to an area 'suffering from empty units and lack of footfall'.

The planning statement added: ‘We will aim to add to the growing ethos within the Chichester area to ‘buy local' and will engage with our fellow small business owners wherever possible.’