The opening of a new lounge bar in east Reading has been halted amid the coronavirus lockdown.

MNKY Lounge, on Erleigh Road, was set to open at the beginning of April before the Covid-19 pandemic took a hold of the UK.

Formerly the home of the Fruit Bat Bar for many years and more recently vegan café Vegos, the latest business venture wants to be a place for the community to hang out in all day long, once such activity is allowed again.

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“It is an absolute nightmare”: Opening soon…?

An area usually buzzing with students, Erleigh Road is now very quiet, with many students back at their homes in towns across the UK and very few shops open.

We have heard a lot about the huge number of businesses that have been forced to close their doors amid the coronavirus lockdown, putting them in financial difficulty, but businesses that were due to open have largely gone under the radar.

Manu Gill, owner of MNKY Lounge, said the lounge bar was 95 per cent ready before the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent shutdown of non-essential businesses halted further works.

He said he appreciates others are facing greater difficulties, highlighting that a lot of his family are frontline NHS staff.

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But he added: “It is an absolute nightmare. The timing could not have been worse.

“We were hoping to be open by now. It would have been the first week of April.

“The last thing we had to do was get the beer pumps and bespoke furniture in and get them fitted.

“I have been cancelling and delaying everything which has not been easy. I had a bit of a nightmare with BT Sport and Sky Sports.

“They took their £880 subscription before I was able to get through to them over the phone.

“After two hours on the phone with Sky their call disconnects but I finally managed to get through and sort it out. It is just one of those things.”

They were planning to start offering takeaway food but have suggested they delay this.

Work to get MNKY Lounge ready before the coronavirus lockdown halted its progress

Reading Chronicle:

What will the place be like when it is able to open?

Mr Gill wants to open up the lounge bar in the morning for mothers and their new-borns, be a place for the community to “hang out” in the day with “outstanding coffee” from 200 Degrees and turn into a bar at night with live sport and a pool table.

He said: “It is going to be a bar and a place that people can hang out during the day. I want it to be a hub for the community – for locals, for students and for NHS staff.

“I don’t want to be classified as just a bar.”