Raph's bar co-owners, Chris and Simon Leahy
Chloe Shakesby

Bank vault becomes wine cellar as Yorkshire entrepreneurs reveal plans for new bar and grill

A new bar and grill predicted to create more than a dozen jobs is set to open at a former bank in East Yorkshire.

Raph’s Bar and Grill, which is being opened by the owners of Cassiel Bar and Kitchen, will create 14 jobs when it opens later this year.

The bar will open at the former NatWest bank across the road from the Cassiel Bar in Cottingham.

The premises, which will open in September, have undergone a renovation project which converted a bank vault into a cellar.

Chris Leahy, co-owner of the bars, commented: “The builders had to drill five holes between the bar and the cellar but the walls were about two and a half feet thick with a couple of metal plates as well. They burned out three drill bits but we got there in the end.

“Nothing is risk-free and we have taken a bit of a gamble but we believe there is plenty of trade in Cottingham – it’s said to be England’s largest village – and as restrictions ease customers will become more confident and business will increase.

“The biggest challenge we face at the moment, in common with the rest of the hospitality sector, is recruiting and retaining staff but we’re optimistic and we hope that the quality of our offer and our working environment will appeal to people looking for work in an industry which has a bright future.”

Simon Leahy, also co-owner, said: “Cassiel and Raph’s Bar are all about bringing something new to Cottingham.

“They’re named after the archangels Cassiel and Raphael and they’re different from the pubs we’ve grown up with in the village.

“We’re not about competing with other venues in Cottingham or with ourselves. We see people leaving Cottingham to visit café bars elsewhere in the Hull area and we want to create something that will encourage them to explore their own village. We’re enhancing the local circuit.

“At Cassiel we’ve also attracted a more varied clientele than you will generally find in the pubs. It has been a struggle because of Covid but we’ve had positive feedback and some great reviews for the food, drink and ambience. It’s different and people like it!”

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