BOSCOMBE’S popular live music pub Chaplin’s & The Cellar Bar has reopened, much to the relief of staff and residents.

After choosing to stay closed after July 4, the first official day pubs and restaurants could reopen with social distancing enforced, the pub opened its doors to customers on Tuesday September 1.

Chaplin’s will only have its bar in operation with renovation work on its new restaurant continuing and expected to be completed in October.

Owner Harry Seccombe said: “We had a good response from locals when we reopened on Tuesday. All tables were booked up and a lot of people were saying that they were pleased to see us back open again.

“Having been shut for so long, I am happy that we are able to get some of our employees back to work.

“We are just testing the waters at the moment. It’s just the bar at the moment and we’ll see how it goes and we will continue to review the situation every couple of days.”

The music venue has applied for a grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund, courtesy of Arts Council England and the National Lottery.

The grants, which range from £50,000 up to a maximum of £3 million, aims to support all types of art and help kickstart cultural business back into action.

However, the pub is finding hosting normal live music difficult as, with social distancing, the venue’s capacity has been limited to less than 10 people.

Harry added: “We have had musicians getting in contact with us asking about when they can play at our pub and there are some people who are willing to come and play for free.

“We want to get back to a position where we have seven days a week entertainment because it is what we are known for and what a lot of our customers have grown to expect from us, but it will take a lot of organising.

“If we are successful with the grant, we might look at streaming some performances or doing some acoustic style concerts upstairs in our main bar. If we do not get the grant, then we will have to look at something a bit more organic.”

After setting up a crowdfunding page as part of the #saveourvenues campaign to save Grassroots Music Venues across the country, Chaplin’s & The Cellar Bar has so far raised over £11,000 to put towards hosting live music.

“We had a very good response from our crowdfunding campaign,” said Harry.

“We are currently sitting on that money as we said that we wanted to use it to help bring back music and entertainment to the pub

“If the grant for entertainment doesn’t work, we will reconsider our options, but I am confident we will be able find a suitable way for us to provide entertainment for our customers.”