A NEW bar with a restaurant, dancefloor and big screens showing live sport is coming to Stretford Mall, creating up to 25 jobs.

The Hive, which will be based inside the former Royal Bank of Scotland building on Chester Road, will open its doors in the next two months, with its name inspired by the Manchester Bee symbol.

Close friends and long-time business partners Chris Herbert and Jamie Hoare have joined forces with Andy Seale, who is landlord of the nearby Gorse Hill pub, to create a bar and restaurant that offers something for everyone.

Chris, 36, who moved to Stretford five years ago, believes the mall is the perfect location for The Hive which will open at 8am every day and close at 3am at weekends and midnight during weekdays.

He said: "Stretford is up and coming, a real community, and a great place to start a new business venture. I've fallen in love with the area.

"We want to give people somewhere great to eat while also being a place where you can watch sports on our two big screens and stay out until late.

"I've always liked the old RBS building at the mall. The unit is so big we can split it into sections so you can dine away from people watching the football. Food wise we'll have a whole brunch menu, modern pub food, pancakes, small plates of European tapas type food

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and changing specials.

"We're going to have a dancefloor as well which is going to be a real centrepiece. I can't say too much as we want it to be a surprise but it's really artistic.

"There will be two bars, one of which is upstairs as an overspill, two sets of toilets and disabled access. There will be an area that people can hire out for events and functions.

"We'll have an area for bands and a DJ booth with the intention to have local DJs playing. There will always be something going on. Whether it's karaoke or a pub quiz.

"We really want to get the community involved - to tell us what they want. Everyone is welcome, every age range, and you can even bring your dogs.

"We've called it The Hive because we want it to be a hive of activity. It's also a nod to the Manchester Bee."

He added: "We're looking at recruiting 20-25 staff. That will be mainly part-time and flexi bar staff as well as six full-time positions.

"We're going to need a head chef, kitchen manager and staff, as well as a duty bar manager. We've had a lot of interest so far.

"We want to provide work for people locally. So we'll be using a local cleaning company, sourcing food locally and getting local artists in too.

"We've got a graffiti artist who is going to do one of the walls. Inside we want the bar to be modern but chic. It's also a bit industrial - quite mancunian without everything being Oasis!

"There is quite a lot of brick on show in there and we'll be keeping the old bank vaults in which will be used as a beer cellar so there is still some old features.

"We want it to be warm and cosy in the winter but cool in the summer which is why we have invested in an air con system.

"We won't have the final capacity confirmed until the project is finished but we think it will be in the region of 250-300 people.

"It's a big place and a big project which we're really excited about. We want to make this a success for Stretford."

Chris and his friend Jamie Hoare, 34, who is originally from Kent but now living in Liverpool, have known Gorse Hill landlord Andy Seale, 60, for the past eight years.

The pair own a successful table-football business called Foosball UK and have provided machines for Andy, who unbeknownst to them also had the same vision for the vacant unit at the mall.

Chris explained: "I've known Jamie since day one of uni. We started up a little club night at Liverpool University which was fun.

"We went off and did our different jobs after uni but then about ten years ago we decided to set up the foosball business which is how we met Andy.

"He's always had our machines. The people of Stretford are lovely and I just fell in love with the area. It became my home.

"With the business doing well we felt it was time to do something else. I've always liked the unit, which was an old bank, so last year we decided to see what we could do with it.

"When we spoke to the mall they mentioned that a guy down the road was looking at it too. When we realised it was Andy we called him. After discussing our visions, we knew that we could move forward together.

“Jamie and I have worked with the bar industry for a long time, but have never run our own establishment. Andy brings a wealth of experience and contacts. We are definitely a winning combination.

"And to do it in Stretford is just fantastic. With the current business we go up and down the country so it'll be nice to be able to walk to work!"

Andy added: “Stretford is about to blossom in ways we never imagined years ago so it’s exciting to be a part of the expanding infrastructure. Our plan is definitely to make The Hive the talk of the town.”

Chris, who is originally from Chester, is putting his full focus on The Hive - so much so he's even become a member of the building team.

He explained: "I've employed someone to take over my role with the existing business so I can give my full attention to the bar.

"I'm even involved with the build. I've got my hard hat and steelies on doing a bit of labour!

"I'm starting to see it take shape and it's important for me to do that. To be a part of the whole process."

Gareth Wilkins, centre manager at Stretford Mall, said: "We're really excited for the opening of The Hive at Stretford Mall.

"It's going to be a bar that will have something for everyone, whether you're looking for somewhere to enjoy a meal, watch live sport or go for a night out and a dance.

"It will also provide a major jobs boost for the area with up to 25 new roles being created.

"Between them Chris, Jamie and Andy have a lot of experience in the industry and I wish them every success. I'm sure The Hive will be a big hit."