A NEW sports bar is set to open at the Ricoh Arena ahead of the venue’s role in the Commonwealth Games.
The bar – near the front door of the complex and catering for up to 160 at a time – will bring 25 new jobs to the city.
It will boast an array of widescreen TVs – including wall-sized screens – as well as interactive games including shuffleboard and table football.
The Wasps club shop will be relocating to the south side of the venue to make way for the new 400sq metre bar, which will be open to the general public seven days a week.
Work is already under way and the bar, which will open in the spring, will offer a range of craft beers, cocktails and soft drinks, along with contemporary sharing dishes.
Ricoh Arena’s catering partner Delaware North is funding a significant portion of the seven-figure investment in the venue, alongside investment from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP).
Funding has come from the Government’s Getting Building, Local Growth and Growing Places Funds.
The CWLEP funding will also be supporting the development of a new pavilion and launch of a Commonwealth Convention Centre at Ricoh Arena.
Stephen Vaughan, Wasps Group Chief Executive, said: “Socialising is changing and people want to be entertained or experience new concepts whilst they are eating or drinking out, and the sports bar will reflect this in a modern, cutting-edge environment.
“As a venue we typically attract more than a million people every year for live sport, exhibitions, conferences and music concerts to name a few – all of whom will be able to benefit from visiting the sports bar, along with local residents.
“The sports bar’s arrival marks the start of an exciting period ahead for Ricoh Arena as it looks to play a role in helping to celebrate Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture, before hosting a Rugby League World Cup clash later this year, as well as welcoming the Commonwealth Games in 2022.”
Midlands firms supporting the bar project include Coventry-based project and cost management firm IDP, Birmingham-based engineering consultants Clancy Consulting and interior design company Harrison.
Construction work is being undertaken by Coalville-based refurbishment company The Ideal Group.
Doug Tetley, Delaware North UK Managing Director, added: “We have worked with two local companies, Harrison Design and WAA Chosen, to create a bar and restaurant which we are incredibly excited about.
“We feel there is an opportunity to provide a really fun environment for people with a shared passion for sport and socialising to come together and connect.
“The ability to create new jobs and support local suppliers is very important during these times and we are very proud to be part of the Coventry community.”
Sarah Windrum, board director at the CWLEP, said: “This is an investment that will further enhance the appeal of one of the region’s key assets for many years to come and it is part of the LEP helping to fund improvements at the venue to support their hosting of the Commonwealth Games.
“It is an exciting addition to the Ricoh Arena and it is great that construction of the new sports bar is well underway.
“As the lockdown restrictions slowly ease, this will give sports fans the opportunity to meet in a socially distanced way and enjoy their favourite live action with friends and family as the region gears up for a golden period of sport, including the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.”