Three lads from Portsmouth team up to open new Port Solent bar and res…

The Botanical opened its bar on The Boardwalk on Friday, in the unit formerly occupied by the Watermark.

Owner Adam Lewis, 37, from Paulsgrove, said he wasn’t planning to open just however but due to high need on social media, decided to open the bar early.

He said: ‘We originally planned to open in October, however the interest and need blew us away.

‘We launched the social media pages and it just blew up, it went crazy, so we did everything we could to get the bar open. The kitchen will come in mid-October but we couldn’t not open the bar, especially when we had it ready.’

The restaurant’s kitchen will be opening next month, with the exact date to be announced on social media. Adam said the menu will have the theme of a ‘home-grown garden’, with traditional British dishes, including Sunday roasts.

Placing equal importance to the bar, cocktails and kitchen in its tagline, Adam said it was important to open a place that is welcoming and easy to reach to everyone, whether customers want to visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner and drinks in the evening.

He said: ‘We were very conscious about building a brand that is easy to reach to everyone and it doesn’t matter where you come from or what you do.’

Joint owners, Adam Lewis, Mario Sammut and his brother Tony Sammut Picture Habibur Rahman

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Claiming to be an ‘experience’ instead of just a bar, the drinks selection ranges from ‘delectable cocktails, indulgent spirits or simply a quality beer’.

Adam said: ‘We focus very much around quality and value, value doesn’t necessarily average cheap, just that you get a good product for what you pay for and that’s what we’re going for.’

The cocktail menu currently has a selection of 11, which Adam said will be expanding in the future, and offers Mojito Mondays with £7 mojitos every Monday and Happy Hour from 4pm-7pm Tuesday-Friday.

Working alongside Adam are friends Mario Sammut, 40, and his brother Tony Sammut, 39, from Leigh Park.

The three friends all have a different background in the leisure industry, and have worked in various roles in Portsmouth’s hospitality sector over the past 20 years.

They had been looking to open a new bar in Portsmouth and when the opportunity arose in Port Solent, they said it was just the ‘right place at the right time.’

Mario, who also works as a consultant civil engineer, said that after working in Portsmouth for so long he has seen how the city has changed. He said there was a gap in the market for their stylish bar.

He said: ‘We’re looking to push beyond one bar, we’re looking to expand and just want to grow it. I’ve seen the city change, there used to be a pub on every street in Portsmouth but it’s not the same anymore.’

Tony, who is a general manager in hospitality and leisure, said: ‘I am really excited as a local boy to bring an independent bar to the city.’

Adam said the team want to give back to the city as much as they can.

He said: ‘Where we’re local guys, we want to put back into our city as much as we can.’

Additionally, Adam hopes that its location outside the city will open the catchment area for people outside Portsmouth to come and visit – and he said being in Port Solent gives people options.

‘There’s nowhere else that you can sit in a marina and have a cocktail or have a Sunday roast,’ he said.

The Botanical will be using local businesses as much as possible for its products and it has already hired 20 staff, set to grow by another 10.

Story by Sophie Murray

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