Old boathouse offers cocktails with a twist and views over the sea

Bar staff Matt Shaw and Megan McEnroe at Drift on Hayling Island
Bar staff Matt Shaw and Megan McEnroe at Drift on Hayling Island
Benjamin Peace

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If you’re a fan of nights out in Southsea, then you’re probably no stranger to Drift bar.

The Palmerston Road venue offers a wide range of cocktails and beers.

Drift on Hayling Island

Drift on Hayling Island

The bar owners and operations manager Karen Constantine are looking to change the face of their business at their sister site, which has opened on Hayling Island.

Locals gathered for the VIP event and enjoyed a champagne reception, canapes and live acoustic music.

Bar worker and mixologist Megan McEnroe said: ‘The place was absolutely rammed and we worked throughout the night.

‘It was a brilliant evening and we were all pleased that we got to showcase the new venue and what it can offer to the local community.’

The owners want to create a new experience and, while the cocktails are here to stay, the atmosphere will shift from bustling party venue to a relaxed bar experience.

With an extensive wine and beer list and a nautical look, the new site has been welcomed by Hayling residents.

Marketing manager for Drift Hayling Shane O’Byrne said: ‘We contacted the locals regarding our launch and there was a real buzz about it online, so we weren’t surprised by the big turnout.

‘We’ve created this space for an entirely new demographic. Drift in Southsea will still be a great place to let your hair down at the weekend, but Drift Hayling is creating an exciting new food and drink concept.

‘We’re smartening things up.’

Drift Hayling is in an old 1960s boathouse in Sparkes Marina on the eastern tip of the island.

The team has given the site a complete refresh.

The building has a rooftop terrace where diners can enjoy a drink and a meal with views to Chichester harbour and the Witterings.

Shane said: ‘The restaurant offers fine-dining dishes and features everything from pizza to Drift’s own version of a Sunday roast.’

The venue is dog-friendly, offering specially-made 
‘beer for dogs’ and doggy ice-cream.

Operations manager Karen said: ‘The launch night was a fantastic event.

‘We’re so happy to be a part of Hayling.

‘Around 200 people turned out to see us and we are really grateful for the support of the wonderful locals.’

Shane said: ‘We’re taking the positives from Southsea’s branch and incorporating them into this more low-key, high-brow venture. It’s exciting for the team to do something so different and that everyone can enjoy.’