Owner speaks of excitement ahead of new Chichester bar

"We are really excited to get this one going and push it forward. We will open as soon as we can."

Those were the words of the joint-owner of The Escapist — a mircropub which has been given the go-ahead to open in Chichester.

Tom Owen and Steve Pottinger, owners and landlords of The Escapist  a micropub given the go-ahead to open in Crane Street. Photo: Kate Shemilt. ks190558-1

Tom Owen and Steve Pottinger, owners and landlords of The Escapist a micropub given the go-ahead to open in Crane Street. Photo: Kate Shemilt. ks190558-1

A well-supported application for an independent micropub to replace vacant, vintage clothing shop, One Legged Jockey, at 9 Crane Street, was given the nod by councillors last month. Read more here

Emsworth-based Tom Owen, 30, and business partner Steve Pottinger, 25, from Horndean, are the men set to lead the 'new venture'.

Tom said: "We want it to be a welcome environment for people to come and enjoy themselves with friends or people who they haven't met yet.

"It is our first venture in Chichester and it is just the right place for it. It feels like there has been a turn in the tide with there being more independents, particularly in Crane Street, and this can only be good for the high street. We don't want it to die. We want it to diversify.

"We like the feeling of independence. We will hopefully offer a niche which people haven't yet found. We will look to offer the best cost for the consumer."

Tom, who also runs a pop-up events business in London and Hertfordshire, said running a bar is something he and Steve 'really wanted to do'.

"We have both been involved in the industry and we want to get back into it," he said. "We have both been in and out of different jobs and different careers but not really settled.

"We wanted to take control and do something we really love. It is not a normal job but it is something we are really passionate about.

"We are really happy that we've been given the green light and are excited to get started.

"Having found the site about a year ago, It's been a long process and we just want to get stuck in now but it's great that we've got to this point."

Tom, who has previously worked as a barman at the Monaco Grand Prix, said an opening date has not yet been decided, with some internal building work required.

He added: "We will open as soon as we can.

"It is a brand new venture and we are really excited to get this one going and push it forward.

"Opening a smaller pub is more manageable and something we can hopefully build on."

The design and access statement, submitted to Chichester District Council for consideration in May, said a 'relaxed and social micropub' will be a welcome addition to an area 'suffering from empty units and lack of footfall'.

The planning statement added: "Here our customers can discover local or independent breweries that create ales and beers with true craftsmanship along with a selection of wines and spirits produced with the same ethos.

"Our bar will be staffed primarily by its owners to provide a personal service and we will create an atmosphere where you can relax and unwind or socialise in your free time.

"We will aim to add to the growing ethos within the Chichester area to ‘buy local' and will engage with our fellow small business owners wherever possible."

In its decision notice, the district council said the micropub must not be open to the public outside the hours of 12pm and 10.30pm, 'unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority', to 'safeguard the amenities of neighbouring properties'.

Read more about the micropub here