SOUTHAMPTON’S newest restaurant and wine bar has officially opened its doors with a special celebration.

The brainchild of former colleagues, Mike Lawrence and Paul Nicholson, Quayside has opened up in the centre of Woolston’s Centenary Quay.

Offering wine, cocktails and tapas, the two colleagues turned business partners explained how they had always talked about opening their own bar.

But the project only came to fruition when 40-year-old Paul was made redundant during the pandemic.

Daily Echo: Mike Lawrence and Paul Nicholson.Mike Lawrence and Paul Nicholson.

The friends then decided to put their years of visiting bars and restaurants together into practice and began searching for a location for their own business.

Bitterne man, Mike Lawrence, 49, met Paul when they worked on landfill sites in various areas of the country.

He told the Echo: “We’ve known each other for 17 years and we’ve worked together throughout that period.

“We used to sit around in site offices in various places around the country and said we should open a bar one day.

Daily Echo: Quayside bar at Centenary Quay, Southampton.Quayside bar at Centenary Quay, Southampton.

“For both of us, covid was a real benchmark in that it was a life-changing moment.”

Although Quayside opened on March 5, on Saturday the pair officially launched their new business with an official opening party.

Featuring music, a balloon arch and even a visit from the city mayor, the business saw people descend on the waterside destination to join the celebrations.

Co-owner, Paul said: “We haven’t really advertised at all so it’s all been word of mouth.

Daily Echo: Quayside bar at Centenary Quay, Southampton.Quayside bar at Centenary Quay, Southampton.

“We’ve had people from Winchester come down. We just thought we’d have this small audience, but the small audience is now spreading.

“In Southampton, you can’t really sit that close to the water so it’s a bit of a unique part of the bar.”

With pizzas, brunch, and Mediterranean tapas on the menu, the pair said they plan to keep things fresh and could even update their menu as often as every three months.

Boasting a selection of cocktails and a large wine menu as well, they said it is a great place to sit and watch the sunset over the city.

Daily Echo: Quayside bar at Centenary Quay, Southampton.Quayside bar at Centenary Quay, Southampton.

Mike added: “We’re pretty much the only spot in Southampton where you can actually sit on the water and watch traffic go by.

“Paul and I fell in love with it when we first saw it around easter last year.

“We thought we could deliver something that the local community could be proud of and enjoy. Signed the lease and then went through a six-month build phase.

“We want as many people as we can to come and enjoy it. We just think it’s a spectacular location.”

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