Poll: New bar and shops on way for Bury St Edmunds

A NEW bar and a number of shops are planned for a west Suffolk town – with work also well under way for a restaurant.

Business leaders said the additions to Bury St Edmunds proved that the area is doing well and capable of attracting both national and independent companies.

The Petrus Wine Bar will open on the former site of the Chocolate Bar on Whiting and Abbeygate Street in the next two or three weeks.

Ryan Smith, owner and director of the business, said the bar would be a “wine education centre” for people to come and try as many varieties as they want. He added: “I want to take some of the myths about wine and how to enjoy it.

“My primary aim is to make wine accessible and relevant – and show how uncomplicated it really is.

“We will be offering four red and four white wines by the glass so that people can compare and discover what they like.

“We will be holding speed tastings so that people can explore their own palates.”

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Mr Smith added: “We will initially be providing French cheeses and ham – available by the slice – to complement the wines.”

He said the bar will even be stocking high-end champagnes that sell for more than �1,500 a bottle.

The 31-year-old, who has spent two years in France working in regions such as Burgundy and Saint-�milion, said he hoped the bar would be opening soon.

He added: “The renovation has gone really well. We are just trying to get everything perfect before we open.

“But it looks brilliant, better than even I had hoped.”

The work on Petrus comes as contractors start to transform the former home of La Tasca on Abbeygate Street into a new branch of Chimichanga.

The restaurant, which represents an investment of �550,000 by the company, should be opened for Christmas.

Elsewhere in the town centre, empty shops are said to be close to being put back into use. Bidwells estate agents are hoping to gain planning permission on behalf of a restaurant for the former Barclays Bank site, also in Abbeygate Street.

Discussions are also under way about the Hawkins Bazaar site while “one-off” furniture company Painted Country has opened on Churchgate Street.

Mark Cordell, Chief Executive of town centre improvement organisation Bid4Bury, said: “The mix of independent and national companies is key to the success of this town.

“For every TK Maxx and Prezzo, we need independent stores too.”