IN the bustling sea of restaurants and eateries, a new magical cocktail lounge has opened its doors in Southampton. 

Dark Arts Potion and Puzzle Bar is a Harry Potter-themed venue and the brainchild of Simon Quinlan and Amy Jo Lyons, who also own Elusion Escape Rooms. 

Based at 125 High Street, it is the newest addition to the nightlife scene for Hogwarts fans and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Daily Echo: Simon Quinlan and Amy Jo Lyons Simon Quinlan and Amy Jo Lyons (Image: Simon Quinlan)

On the opening night, Simon said: "It was so busy. Honestly, we didn't know it was going to be like that.

"We were a bit stretched, and we had so many people come in to try all kinds of new drinks and stuff. 

"Overall, it went really well, and everyone seems to be loving it so far." 

While receiving positive feedback from the customers, Simon explained how they came up with the idea. 

The 39-year-old added: "We own the escape rooms as well, and that's been there for about three years, which we still operate in the basement. 

"So me and Amy decided what we wanted to do as we have the space.  

"We've always thought it'd be really nice to have a sort of very themed but also a relaxed lounge-like atmosphere where we could add fun and quirkiness to it. 

"We decided that we really like the whole Harry Potter sort of witchcraft-themed, so we went all out with it. 

"And that's how we came up with the idea of this new cocktail lounge." Daily Echo: Dark Arts Potion and Puzzel Bar Dark Arts Potion and Puzzel Bar (Image: Simon Quinlan)

At the new bar, customers can step into a realm of enchantment and immerse themselves in the wizarding world. 

Friends and family can also spend time-solving puzzle box mysteries, where they can put their skills to the test as a group or go up against each other. 

In August, the owners also plan to introduce a potion-making class for those looking to deepen their immersion in the magical world.  

Visitors receive cauldrons, robes, and wands as they step through the doors. 

Simon added: "Because of the nature of the theme, customers have found the bar quite fun. 

"Having lived in Southampton for our whole lives, we'd really wanted to have a themed bar. 

"At the bar, we offer cocktails, and we try to make them affordable and fun. 

"The most famous one among the customers is Mystic Mushroom, which is really a take on Caribbean punch, but with spiced rum that's presented in a mushroom-shaped glass." Daily Echo: Mystic Mushroom, a cocktail drink served at Dark Arts Potion and Puzzel Bar Mystic Mushroom, a cocktail drink served at Dark Arts Potion and Puzzel Bar (Image: Simon Quinlan)

It took the couple nearly six months to transform the empty space into a captivating cocktail haven. 

The interior is meticulously designed to resemble the cosy ambience of the iconic wizarding taverns. 

Bar visitors will be greeted with the flickering lights of candles and the scent of exotic herbs and cocktail potions. 

Amy, 37, built a front area and installed a hand-built mediaeval-style fireplace. It's covered in moss, and it's got an actual roaring fire effect in it, which everyone seems to love.

The new bar has wooden chairs, tables, and bottles hanging from the ceiling. There is also a vintage bookcase lined up with props, including bottles and potions. Daily Echo: Dark Arts Potion and Puzzel Bar is located on 125 High Street Dark Arts Potion and Puzzel Bar is located on 125 High Street (Image: Simon Quinlan)

Speaking of the future plans for the bar, Simon said: "We've got lots of different projects. In terms of the current bar, we would love to see them work out.

"We'd be up to working with other people in Southampton or elsewhere as long as they can keep the same quality." 

The bar officially opened on Friday, June 9.