Inside Southsea bar Drift’s ‘opulent’ lockdown transformation

A BAR in Southsea has transformed its style from surfer shack to Soho club after a four-month renovation during lockdown, with a grand reopening set for this weekend.

Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 5:09 pm
Updated Saturday, 8th August 2020, 5:25 pm

Drift bar, which opened in Palmerston Road in 2002, had been undertaking minor refurbishments before the national lockdown – but took advantage of being closed for four months to install a new entrance, flooring, and a bird-cage centrepiece.

A spokesman from the bar said: ‘This renovation has breathed new life into the bar – it’s much more opulent.

‘Before it was a kind of rough and ready surfer shack – now its like something you would find as a members club in Soho.

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Newspaper from the 19th century was found in the walls during the renovation. Picture: Drift

‘We have a huge centrepiece of a bird cage covered in foliage.

‘The work was so extensive, we found newspapers in the walls from when the building was first built – some of them go back to 1880.’

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A new range of soft drinks, including CBD-infused water, will be served alongside a revamped cocktail menu prepared by the bar's new mixologists.

The renovation has taken more than four months during lockdown. Picture: Drift

The bar has also taken on six new members of staff, including bar staff to accommodate table service required by the government’s social distancing guidelines.

The owners hope the new kitchen, which includes a wood-fired oven, will emulate the success of the bar’s sister venue – Drift Hayling Island – and its focus on dining, with the Southsea branch to open its food offering on August 22.

The spokesman added: ‘The bar is no longer just about the booze.

Drift bar in Southsea has completed a four month renovation. Picture: Will Chambers

‘The restaurant focus at Hayling Island has really taken off.’

Drift in Southsea is open 4pm to 2.30am Monday to Wednesday, 4pm to 3am on Thursdays, 12pm to 3am Fridays and Saturdays, and 12pm to 1.30am on Sundays.

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Drift bar in Southsea has a sister venue on Hayling Island. Picture: Drift

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Drift bar in Southsea has completed a four month renovation. Picture: Drift
Drift Bar, Palmerston Road, Southsea, before lockdown. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
The renovation includes a foliage covered bird cage as a centre piece feature. Picture: Drift