Brand new cocktail bar opens in Kimberley town centre
A brand new bar opened its doors this week – bringing a taste of city nightlife to Kimberley.
Bar Zeon on Main Street is now welcoming customers after it opened its doors for the first time last Friday (July 23).
The swanky new cocktail bar is the brainchild of best friends John-Benjamin Porter and Simon Chidlow, who spent £25,000 to £30,000 renovating the old building ready for the grand opening.
The venue used to be old Madhatter’s but has been empty for over two years.
John, 29, said: “The bar we’ve got here is like something you would find in a city centre with the rest of the cocktail bars. I went to school around here and for ages it has been a bit of a dying town with regard to nightlife.
“We thought it would be so nice to put Kimberley back on the map again.
“We did look at a few venues in the precinct but then we saw this one and we knew we wanted it as soon as we walked in.”
But the road to opening hasn’t been a smooth one, with the pair having to battle for planning permission to be able to stay open longer.
John said: “Unfortunately Kimberley has got a bad reputation at the moment for trouble with yobs and the council’s main concern was the trouble a new bar might cause.
“But we’re really not that kind of establishment. All we are is a safe space for the whole community.”
The word ‘Zeon’ is Greek for ‘the boys’ and John said local people originally assumed the new venue was a gay bar.
John added: “Me and Simon are both gay and I think we got a bit of stick round here with people saying we were opening as a gay bar.
“We felt a little bit penalised at first because of that – it was very upsetting and deterring. But now the whole community is behind us and the level of support has been overwhelming.”
As well as being a cocktail bar, the venue will soon also be operating as a cafe during the day.
The pair are hoping to open four further venues locally over the next few years.
Simon, 42, said: “City centres have gone a bit out of fashion since lockdown and towns are coming back, so we really want to try and build on that.
“Upmarket but affordable is really what we’re going for and we hope this will also help to attract other nice establishments into the Kimberley area.”
The bar has cosy downstairs and upstairs areas, along with a VIP room available for booking upstairs.
The owners are currently waiting on planning permission to go through so the venue can open from 7.30am as a cafe during the day and serve alcohol until midnight.
Keep up to date with the bar’s special offers by visiting its Facebook page here or following on Instagram @BarZeon.