Couple who opened classy Southsea bar Sherlock's despite pandemic mark first year in business

THE owners of a classy bar in Southsea say they are delighted to have made it to their first anniversary in business after setting up in one of the most turbulent times on record.

Richard Peckham, 50, and Debbie Moorhead, 54, both from Southsea, opened Sherlock’s in Clarendon Road in July 2020.

The pair were inspired to start a bar after seeing the premises, a former café, was up for sale.

Despite friends calling them mad for starting a business in a pandemic and neither having run a bar before, the pair poured their enthusiasm into the business – and they are delighted to see their hard work finally starting to pay off.

Sherlock's Bar has outdoor seating, facing south to make the most of the sunny afternoons.. Picture: Mike Cooter (300721)

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Richard, who also runs a marketing firm, said: ‘Last May we went out on a bike ride and bumped into an old friend who was looking to sell his café.

‘We thought we would give it a go, and despite Debbie never having pulled a pint, we took the café and turned it into bar.

‘Our friends thought we were mad but we live in Southsea and there wasn’t a bar that appealed to people of our age so we decided to make one.

Richard and Debbie in front of Sherlock's Bar. Picture: Mike Cooter (300721)

‘We poured £10,000 in and turned it into a place where people can come and enjoy a drink, with some live music, that’s also calm and relaxing.

‘Since then it has been fantastic. Our customers have loved it.

‘Due to the lockdowns, we have only been open six months out of the 12, so now the restrictions have been relaxed we are looking forward to doing what we wanted to with the bar.’

The spacious and stylish interior at Sherlock's Bar. Picture: Mike Cooter (300721)

The couple, who have four children between them and two grandchildren, have also opened the bar up to the community, allowing inclusive and supportive charity Spark Community Space to put on coffee mornings.

Richard said: ‘We wanted to support a charity and to have a local charity like Spark near us, run by Becki who is amazing, was a perfect fit. It makes you feel good to do something to help.’

The pair now plan to start hosting live music as well as entertainment in the evening such as quiz nights, games nights and singles events. They also plan to start tasting nights, called Moretti Munch and Prosecco Brunch, and they plan to start selling a small food menu soon.

Richard said he has been grateful for all the support shown for their venture over the past year.

Sherlock's bar on Clarendon Road. Picture: Mike Cooter (300721)

He added: ‘Hopefully we have gone through the worst part. Now the restrictions have calmed down, we can get back to normal bar and do the things that we love.’

Story by Kimberley Barber

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One of the bespoke pieces decorating the bar's interior. Picture: Mike Cooter (300721)

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Keep your eyes peeled for the many artworks. Picture: Mike Cooter (300721)