OUR Bar Of The Week this week is a relative new kid on the block compared with some on the Worcester scene.

Bottles Wine Bar & Merchants occupies the building in New Street which many in Worcester will remember as a cycle shop and then mountaineering equipment store.

It lay empty for two years before being given a new life by Richard Everton as Bottles. He’s run it for the past five years and three months – and to say those last three months have been trying would be seriously understating things.

In common with every other other person involved in the business, says Richard, it’s the most challenging thing he has ever faced.

In fact, he’d go so far as to list it as his most memorable moment in the business – “I’ve got lots of great memories and times but probably the most memorable was a bad one – being told to close overnight because of the pandemic!”

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Richard also owns Worcester Wines Limited, and featured in the Worcester News at the end of May when we told how he’d set about adapting his wine business by developing his home delivery service and online offering in order to survive during the lockdown.

With the easing of restrictions by the Government, Richard and his bar staff – manageress Hannah, Joe, Ellie, Geraint, Charlotte, Jakub, Kofi – have been gradually feeling their way back into the swing of things, although it will take time for anything to return to anything like full normality.

Richard said: “The current Covid-19 challenge is by far the greatest I have faced in the industry and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.

“We are attempting lots of different tactics to maximise business and maintain safety to staff and customers.”

READ MORE: How wine seller adapted to survive

The bar normally serves tapas, cheese and cooked meats, mezze, but currently due to Government restrictions, food is not being served.

Similarly, under normal circumstances, customers would be able to enjoy a glass of wine while listening to live music every Sunday, jazz and blues every other Thursday, and a DJ set list on Friday and Saturday from 10pm.

Unsurprisingly, wine is the most popular drink of choice among customers, taking advantage of the WineEmotion wine tasting machines, which serve a range of 16 wines at perfect serving temperatures and Richard is hopeful it won’t be too long before the return of the bar’s popular wine-tasting events.