AN ALTERNATIVE map and guide to Bournemouth has been produced to highlight the hidden gems, art houses, quirky shops and cafes in the area.

Featuring 180 independent, unusual and creative venues, the free fold-out A2 map will be launched at Monty’s Lounge today and distributed widely across the area.

The non-profit venture was masterminded by the former Bournemouth Nightclub Chaplain, Michael French, who worked with Dorset Police and Bournemouth Council on numerous projects to make the town safe and positive at night.

He said: “When I worked as the nightclub chaplain I realised a lot of people visiting the town wanted to find something a bit different but there was no definitive guide.

“So I’ve been on a journey for the last six months to discover all the quirky bars, vintage and charity shops, art houses and hidden gems which make Bournemouth so unique.

“It’s a non-profit venture and we have kept the charges for advertising very low.

“Our hope is also that once produced, a sponsor will pay for its further distribution across the region and even the country.”

Michael worked alongside graphic designer Daniel Butler and Daisy Carr to create the map and they plan to reproduce the alternative guide every two years.

They will be printing 20,000 initially and delivering them to hotels, shops, hairdressers and cafes in the local area as well as handing out 5,000 to students at Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth.

The website, which will be completed in February, will be updated regularly with new venues and can be accessed at

The launch event will take place from 7.30pm to 10pm at Monty’s Lounge in Pokesdown.

For more information email Michael at