ANDOVER residents will soon be able to enjoy a cocktail in one of the town’s most iconic buildings. 

Test Valley Borough Council has confirmed that it will be renting out the bottom floor of the Guildhall on Andover High Street to SP Bar, a cocktail venue on Bridge Street.

Owners Stephanie and Ricky Pledge plan to open up a brand new eatery in the hall, at the heart of the town centre.

Announcing the news, TVBC leader Cllr Phil North said: “After sitting empty since the middle of the pandemic, I’m really pleased that the Lower Guildhall is set to become the new home for one of Andover’s most loved hospitality businesses - with the owners of the The SP Bar planning go transform it into a vibrant new eatery.”

The new venture  is set to open this autumn, following “minor refurbishment work” which will begin soon.

The restaurant will offer brunch, light bites and a daytime menu, and then transform into a cocktail bar with a menu of dishes from local chefs and independent food traders in the evenings.

Stephanie said: “We are absolutely ecstatic to be taking on the challenge to bring the Lower Guildhall back to the town! 

“It’s always been central to the town and we believe we can create an inviting and vibrant space inside to match what you see on the outside! We look forward to bringing the SP Cocktails across whilst offering a truly fantastic array of menus and collaborations. The future of the town is being truly invested in and we are really proud to be part of Andover’s change for everyone.”

SEE ALSO: SP Bar branches out with new riverside cafe venture

Cllr North continued: “This is such fantastic news and I am absolutely delighted that Stephanie and Ricky, who are so passionate about the town, will breathe life back into the Lower Guildhall and bring something fresh and new to Andover. The SP Bar has been such a huge success, and with their new Riverside Café also due to open in Town Mills Riverside Park, it is clear to see that they are keen to invest in Andover and can see just how much potential our town has to offer. 

“So much of what we are seeking to do through the Andover masterplan involves creating really great spaces in the town centre for people to relax and socialise, and having such an amazing new eatery in the Guildhall will do exactly that.”

He added: “With the new SP Bar, Bev’s The Travelling Cupcake and Kelly’s Canto Gelato all overlooking the Guildhall square area, I’m sure the new pop-up bistro-style tables and chairs will become even more popular.

“I’m certainly looking forward to enjoying a cocktail after a council meeting. Don’t worry, if won’t be before!"

SEE ALSO: Future of Andover restaurant Zintino in doubt

The SP Bar opened in 2019, and received support from TVBC as part of its independent retailers grant scheme.

In March, it was announced that SP Bar would be branching out to take over the hospitality unit at Riverside Park in the Town Mills area of town.

The space in the Guildhall was previously occupied by the restaurant Zintono, originally named Villagio, which was confirmed to have closed in January 2021 after its parent company, Dining Street, entered administration, with as many as 147 jobs at risk. 

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