Sleepless nights over as couple finally open Newport bar

While pubs and restaurants across the country await the finer details of the new government restrictions, one young couple are celebrating the successful opening of their new bar.

Novella Craft & Cocktails in Newport was opened by Matt Lorenz and fiancée Marie Ryley in the town's former Barclays Bank last week.

Matt, aged 25, said there had been sleepless nights in the run up to the opening – not least because of concerns about the new restrictions – but they had been delighted as they welcomed customers for the first time.

He said: "It's been really good. It's been a long process but we've had a great first week.

'Waiting list'

"It was pretty amazing on the weekend – we were fully booked each day and we had a waiting list of people who were waiting to see if there were any cancellations.

"It was really well received by everyone – it was phenomenal.

"We've been looking for a while for an ideal venue and I knew Newport would be the ideal place – because I've lived there – and when we came across Barclays Bank we knew it was perfect.

"There was a lot of uncertainty around opening with restrictions as well and then we found out there would be a 10pm curfew.

"It's all been against us, but we've just got on with it and pushed through.

'Long days'

"There's been a lot of sleepless nights and some long days but we're here now."

Matt said that the experience of setting up a hospitality business in the midst of a pandemic is probably one of the most testing he will ever face – with the couple also having their first child together.

He said: "It has been the most stressful experience of my life and probably the most stressful thing we'll ever experience."

Mr Lorenz, who is currently living near Cannock with his fiancée but hopes to move back to Newport, said their partnership had been essential in sorting out the business.

He added: "We would've never been able to do it without each other.

"I know about the bar side and she's got the financial side of the business covered – having those two sides have really helped. And it helps to have a shared vision."

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