With things beginning to settle back to normal, non-essential shops back open and restaurants opening their doors once again it’s time to rediscover the joys of Southampton’s city centre. What’s more, there’s a whole array of new businesses opening their doors for the first time. Take a look at some of the exciting delights heading to our city soon…
New to Westquay is the big British brand and ultimate toy shop, Hamleys, which opened on 7 May. Think teddies, games, Lego, arts and crafts and everything enjoyable as a kid and you’ll get the picture of what they offer!
In the autumn, luxury retailer Flannels will be opening, offering fashion for men, women and children with some big designer names.
Recently opened on East Street, Geek Retreat offers a large variety of games, superhero merchandise, video games and more. When restrictions lift The Geek Retreat will become a place where you can come and play games (board and video) with others whilst sipping on a milkshake or munching on a burger! Pokémon, Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer fans will love a visit here! This store is open Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 12noon-5pm.
Early May saw the opening of new tattoo parlour, Kookie Tattoo, at 114 High Street, offering custom tattoos.
Head into the city centre to sample some new cuisine at some of Southampton’s newest venues.
Recently opened is Pam Pam, located on Oxford Street. This swish cocktail bar offers a variety of drinks along with a delicious pizza menu. You can now book tables indoors and outdoors for food and drink.
Also on Oxford Street, OX:47 Lounge is Southampton’s smallest micro cocktail bar, having opened up very recently to outside drinkers and diners. Soak up the relaxed atmosphere in their courtyard garden and enjoy hand-blended cocktails, Prosecco, plus an array of gins and draught lagers. Fancy something to eat? OX:47 serves charcuterie and cheeseboard platters plus light bites and vegan food. Open daily 12noon-9pm.
Another new addition in Oxford Street is Rita’s Bar. Think Art Deco meets modern interiors, Rita's Bar is another great venue for cocktails, drinks and food. Equally, there's the chance to enjoy those Caribbean vibes when Tropic Bar opens on Oxford Street soon or if you are looking for a good steak, Porters Steakhouse is opening soon in the Oxford Street area.
Just opened in Bedford Place is Happy Bean Coffee Bar, serving up artisan coffee, vegan/vegetarian cakes and snacks all locally sourced. They are all about staying environmentally friendly, avoiding all single-use plastic, and providing recyclable/compostable takeaway packaging. Open Monday-Saturday 9am-4.30pm.
Love your gins? Then be sure to check out Gin and Olive when it opens on Above Bar Street, in the Cultural Quarter. Browse the extensive lists of gins (there will be over 100 on offer) and other spirits. Food will also be offered, including traditional English fare, sharing platters, and light bites.
Also on Above Bar Street, but which has recently opened, is Japanese takeaway, Kokoro. Open Monday-Saturday 11am-9pm and Sunday 11am-7pm.
Working in partnership with Orange Rooms, The Big Dough Co. have recently launched their buy by the slice pizzas in the new Outside Orange garden. Serving 24-inch slices, they are easily some of the biggest and best in Southampton.
The Big Dough Co. will also have their residency at recently opened CRIB, the newest addition to the Bedford Place bar scene. Themed as a manor house that's been bought by an eccentric millionaire who clearly has more money than taste, CRIB has been designed to be a chilled out, welcoming place to spend an afternoon or a night. They also are one of the few venues in Southampton where you can play Shuffleboard so be sure to check them out.
Looking to get your dancing shoes back on? Us to! Why not head down to Trilogy the newest club in the city? With a Disco Room and a R&B/Urban/House Room as well as a Botanic area for gin & cocktails, Trilogy is a guaranteed great night out on London Road.
Set to open on 22 May, Ruby's at the Grand is a brand-new cocktail lounge with a fabulous interior and some amazing-looking cocktails. You can find Ruby's at South Western House, Terminus Terrace. It's opening hours will be Thursday 4pm-12.15am, Friday and Saturday 4pm-2am and Sunday 4pm-10pm.
Last but by no means least, Spritz Social can be found just on Westquay Esplanade, offering refreshing summer cocktails, craft beer and lots of Aperol Spritz. Outdoor seating and beach huts are available to book. Spritz Social is open Monday-Friday 3pm-11pm and Saturday-Sunday 12noon-11pm. Under 18s must vacate the Spritz Social by 8pm.
With shows starting from 28 May, MAST Mayflower Studios on Above Bar Street provides the perfect way to relax with afternoon and evening performances of a variety of productions. Look out for theatre for all ages, musical performances and talks with some big TV stars such as food critic, Jay Rayner, and nature and bushcraft enthusiast, Ray Mears.
Opening on 28 May on East Street, High Score Arcade a new concept free-play amusement offers fun for all ages, with a huge variety of arcade machines to enjoy. Lots of family fun or something different to do for a date night. Booking must be made in advance via their website and Covid-secure measures will be in place.
Retro games enthusiasts will love Nu Games Arcade, opening on 22 May on the first floor of the Marlands Shopping Centre. Plus coming soon to the Guildhall Square area on Above Bar Street (opening date yet to be set) will be Sharkeys Sports Bar.
Here are a few businesses that opened in the last year in Southampton, which you may have missed and are well-worth checking out...
Slim Chickens - with all kinds of fried chicken, this restaurant is found in Westquay Shopping Centre. As a special offer if you download the Slim Chickens UK app you can get three free chicken tenders on your first visit!
Suit Direct - located on the ground floor of Westquay Shopping Centre. Offering a whole host of suits for all occasions.
So what’s stopping you? Head into Southampton now and check out all that’s going on, we have missed you SO much!
For more information on what's opening in the city centre, how to get here and the safety measures that have been put in place in the city, visit our SO Much page here.
*correct as of 6th August 2021*