Portsmouth Grapes bar on mission to pull in diverse crowd

Landlord Daniel O'Brien with business partner Georgia Hutton at The Grapes in London Road, North End, Portsmouth.

Picture: Sarah Standing (161573-3226)
Landlord Daniel O'Brien with business partner Georgia Hutton at The Grapes in London Road, North End, Portsmouth. Picture: Sarah Standing (161573-3226)

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It’s a bar that vowed to help turn around North End’s fortunes.

Now The Grapes in London Road is celebrating its first anniversary serving the community after being taken on and repackaged with a fresh, modern look by owner Daniel O’Brien.

We want to carry on with what we are doing, because it’s working well for us. But we want to look at other areas and where we can win over more customers.

Grapes owner Daniel O’Brien

The former Lanyard pub has been transformed into a bar specialising in cocktails and gourmet food that punters can tuck into before they head into town for a night out.

Daniel says he’s been pleased with the progress made since he took on the premises in November 2015.

And now he says the push is on to attract an even bigger, diverse crowd who will spread the message that The Grapes is a venue on the up.

Daniel said: ‘We’re starting to appeal to a variety of people and that’s what we want to continue working on.

‘The great thing is we’re not getting the same type of customer.

‘We have a few ladies who come in on a Wednesday for high tea. We attract a group of old boys and then there’s the younger crowd who come in on a Friday and Saturday.

‘It’s progressing well, but at the same time we’re still finding it hard to win over new custom.’

In an effort to bring a more diverse mix of punters in, Daniel and his team are looking to roll out Cuban salsa dance lessons on a Wednesday night, as well as a day specifically geared towards the interests of pensioners on a Tuesday.

And on Thursdays 
there is set to be a kids’ club where mothers can chat and catch up.

A quiz night will be launched to keep customers entertained.

Daniel said: ‘We want to carry on with what we are doing, because it’s working well for us.

‘But we want to look at other areas and where we can win over more customers. We want to try and appeal to as many people as possible.

‘The Lanyard was a pub and that attracted a certain type of customer.

‘But we are a bar, and that’s sort of place that attracts variety. You need to mix it up a little bit.

‘Someone might not like what you do on one day, but then they may like what you do on another day. It’s about winning people over on different levels.’

The Grapes celebrated its one-year anniversary with a party on Saturday.

A DJ appeared and performed for up to 300 guests invited to mark the occasion.

More than 100 cocktails are available and a new menu has been launched, with fun-named burgers including ‘jerk making me hungry’ – a chicken jerk-flavoured burger with pineapple.