Chris and Simon Leahy, co-founders, Raph's Lounge
Chris & Simon Leahy, co-founders, Raph's Lounge.

Yorkshire brothers' second bar to create nearly 30 jobs

Yorkshire brothers who followed their father into the pub trade have overcome cynics and staff shortages to open a second bar in 14 months creating nearly 30 jobs.

Chris and Simon Leahy said they were taking a gamble with plans to open Raph’s Lounge so soon after the launch of Cassiel Bar and Kitchen, in Cottingham, East Yorkshire. Their parents ran two pubs in the village when the brothers were growing up.

Chris Leahy said: “It has been a tough time for this industry and some people warned us against launching a second venture so soon after Cassiel but we’re seeing as many covers in the middle of the week as we were on a Friday and Saturday.

“As the months have passed we’ve seen increasing confidence among the older groups when people have had their second doses of the vaccine.

“Business has certainly exceeded our expectations and it’s not just about food. We’ve found that customers at Cassiel are staying around and enjoying a drink after the kitchen has closed.”

Simon Leahy added: “Recruitment hasn’t been easy because not many people were prepared to commit to the hours we need but altogether we’ve now got a team of nearly 30 across both venues and they can work flexibly because the bars are so close together.

“If one place is quiet and the other one is busy all our staff have to do is cross the road to help out.

“We opened Cassiel because we felt the village needed something different. The customers have responded to the offer of great food and drink in a nice environment, and Raph’s will be different again.”

Chris and Simon also intend to establish Raph’s Lounge as an entertainment venue, reviving Cottingham’s live music scene with performances from local bands and singers.

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