A NEW pub has opened its doors to great fanfare sparking the seeds of business regeneration.
The Victualler Harbourside Bar & Restaurant is the latest new businesses to open on the waterfront at the Royal Clarence Yard in Gosport.
Owner Ben Bartrip, 41, was ecstatic with the bustling launch party.
Ben said: ‘We had about 550 people attend. It was a roaring success. People absolutely love what we’ve done with the place.’
The Victualler was so packed that Ben was too busy to chat and he did an eight-hour stint on the bar.
‘The few times that I was on the door and could speak to people they would say “Oh wow, this place is absolutely incredible!”,’ Ben said.
The pub’s success runs contrary to the mixed fortunes of the area, with a history dating back to the 18th century.
It was redeveloped in 2001 by Berkeley Homes, which brought about 500 homes but it lacked interest from businesses and those that opened struggled.
Ben, a Gosport resident since 2007, knows the area well and said he could see the opportunity for a unique, quality establishment.
‘I’ve always known that there is a demand in the area for a higher-end offering doing continental lagers, award-winning wines and cocktails,’ he said.
Aware of the area’s rich history as one of the two remaining royal yards in the country, Ben quickly found the ideal name for his new place.
‘The area used to be a Victualling Yard,’ he said.
‘And a Victualler was a pub landlord and purveyor of food and drink. We couldn’t name it anything else once we knew that.’
Ben, now owner of his second bar after the Elephant Public House in Bristol, has a renewed love for the industry.
He said: ‘It’s not really a job, it’s a passion.
‘You’ve got to love doing a job like this as it’s pretty relentless.
‘But it’s worth it when you see people walk through the door with a smile on their face and when they thank you for a great meal and great afternoon.’
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage welcomed the opening and said she was hopeful about the yard’s future.
She said: ‘It is an area that when it was built was promised to come with a good range of amenities but that never really followed through now it is really starting to flourish.
‘Arty’s Pizza has opened, as has the new bar and The Wendy House cafe. It is really beginning to get a nice buzz about it.
‘It is becoming a real asset to the community and to attract visitors to Gosport.’