ROMSEY'S newest bar has opened its doors to customers and it seems to be already proving a hit with residents.

After shutting in 2019, the Santander branch at 14 Market Place has been revamped into a cocktail dining lounge.

In a nod to the former bank, the bar is called The Exchange and opened on Friday, April 16 from 4.30pm for outdoor drinks only, according to the business's Facebook page.

A post on the social media page on Saturday revealed the bar will only take bookings for after 6pm from now on, following a "very busy first night".

However, The Exchange reassured customers "any bookings already made will be honoured".

The Facebook page stressed until May 17, when punters could be allowed to drink indoors again under the roadmap out of lockdown, the business will offer a reduced cocktail and food menu.

This means brunch will be served from 10am until 11.30am, but on Saturday this will run from 9am to 11.30am.

Lunchtime service will start at 12pm and finish at 4pm.

From May 17, the bar's evening menu should begin, and The Exchange will continue to serve hot takeaway drinks.

As reported, the owner, Naomi Randall, told the Advertiser next month when lockdown restrictions could continue to ease, customers may get the chance to try the bar's gin experiences - where the public can taste different types of gin.

These must be pre-booked.

"Once restrictions [are further] lifted in May, our friendly, local staff will welcome people inside for brunch through to late in the evening, and will then introduce our exciting range of tapas and a larger menu of cocktails.

"We will then be taking bookings and offering a wide range of options from cosy booths to high tables," Ms Randall added.

A VIP launch event and cocktail masterclasses could also happen once all restrictions on social contact are lifted on June 21 at the earliest.

When asked how The Exchange will stand out from the crowd, the business owner said: "We are bringing something new to Romsey, both in the style of the bar, which is light and contemporary, and in the experiences we offer.

"We are the only bar specialising in cocktails and the only restaurant in the town centre offering tapas late into the evening."

Under the Government's roadmap out of lockdown, the hospitality industry was allowed to start serving food and drink outdoors from April 12.

New test and trace rules mean everyone over 16-years-old must sign in before going into pubs, cafés or restaurants, unlike last year when just one member of a group needed to do this.

However, if all goes to plan step three of Boris Johnson's roadmap should see customers allowed indoors again from May 17.

To find out more about the bar, search The Exchange Romsey on Facebook and Instagram.