ROCKWATER opened its first beachside restaurant and leisure complex in Dorset last month.

The brand is set to open a second eatery and lifestyle hub next year in the area.

Here’s everything you need to know about the two seafront complexes and the man behind them.

What’s Rockwater?

Rockwater is the brainchild of entrepreneur Luke Davis from Brighton. 

Rockwater Village at Branksome beach is modelled on the successful Rockwater concept in Hove.

The complexs serve as a space to “eat, drink, connect, work, play and be inspired”.

Rockwater will open its second Poole site at Sandbanks in early 2024. 

Where's Rockwater Branksome?

Rockwater Branksome has replaced the former Branksome beach cafe. 

The refurbished space now boasts a ground floor bar, restaurant and lounge, along with an upstairs terrace boasting uninterrupted sea views.

As well as offering a restaurant, a number of social events also take place at the Branksome site including sip and paint, supper clubs, craft workshops, live music, and a chess club.

Why was the Branksome site controversial?

BCP Council gave plans for the Branksome Chine beach café the thumbs up in December despite hundreds of objections.

Councillor’s voted nine to three in favour of approving the development, despite some late rallying from residents and neighbours who feared the site was “designed to attract the Love Island crowd”.

Bournemouth Echo: Luke Davis, founder of Rockwater

Mr Davis said: “This is a passion project and our vision is to create a hub at the heart of the local community to be enjoyed by all, whilst also regenerating a seaside space that lives in harmony with the local surroundings.”

When did Rockwater Branksome open?

Bournemouth Echo: Rockwater at Branksome beach

It opened its doors to members of the public at the end of September.

Rockwater Branksome has a roof terrace area along with a bar and kitchen.

It is open for breakfast Monday to Friday, lunch, and dinner, with a weekend brunch menu served on Saturdays and Sundays.

What do we know about Rockwater Sandbanks?

Construction work on a sister Rockwater site in Sandbanks is set to start this month.

It is located at the site of the former Sandbanks cafe. 

Plans for the Sandbanks site had to be redesigned due to nesting lizards in sand dunes which Mr Davis jokingly dubbed ‘Lizard-gate’.

Bournemouth Echo:

The application for the Sandbanks site was approved by BCP Council in February this year.

Despite the Branksome site garnering objections, there were no such concerns raised by residents, councillors or official consultees over Sandbanks. 

Bournemouth Echo:

In their report, council planning officers: “The proposal would enhance the existing restaurant provision in this established tourist location and would boost the local economy in a manner that would not be detrimental to the character and appearance of the area.”

In total, the cost of both the Branksome and Sandbanks projects is expected to exceed £13m.

What are the Rockwater Shacks?

Bournemouth Echo: Rockwater 'Shacks by the Shore' at Branksome beach

As well as the main Rockwater complexes, Rockwater also operates Shacks at Branksome and Sandbanks which sell snacks and drinks to beach goers.