A POPULAR seafront venue dubbed ‘the final piece in the jigsaw’ of South Parade Pier has finally re-opened.
For many years, the pier’s famous Gaiety Bar was a byword for entertainment.
On Saturday, the venue returned in some style as it delighted hundreds at two packed-out Halloween parties.
Its reopening completes the set for the pier which first opened its doors again to the public in April after a five-year closure period and multimillion investment from owners Tommy Ware Jnr and Tommy Ware Snr.
Friends Trevor Bratty and Jack Edwards took on the mammoth task of returning the pier to its former glory.
Trevor, who owns the pier’s ice cream emporium, said: ‘When we first signed the lease, we came in and there was no floor.
‘It is an iconic pier and we felt passionate about bringing it back to life as nearly 20 years ago, this really was the place to be and we were desperate to play a part in its revival.’
Work on the bar started in August and has included a substantial refurbishment – including the installation of eight chandeliers.
Jack, who is a professional actor, said: ‘Everybody really came together to make it happen. It was a strong team effort as there were so many different aspects to it and it is great to finally have it open.’
The pairing want to bring back celebrity nights to the landmark as well as the traditional tea dances.
Catherine Wood, from Southsea, was one of the first guests into the refurbished venue in the evening.
She said: ‘It is about time we got it back.
‘I have been coming here since the 60s as I used to be a part of the dance performances.
‘It feels so good to be back in the Gaiety. Since it closed down, nothing else has really compared to it, so I’m glad to have a place to go now that isn’t a club.
‘It looks lovely and I hope people come down and give it their support.’
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome added: ‘The reopening of the Gaiety Bar completes South Parade Pier, adding another string to the city’s bow as a fantastic seafront location.’
Ahead of the official opening, hundreds of kids took part in a Halloween-themed party during the afternoon.