A new Italian bar is being opened in Preston.
Stratos, in the former Bistro French building on Avenham Road, is being launched by the family-run San Marco group.
It will be the fifth restaurant in the family’s portfolio, including Pinocchio’s in Walton-le-Dale, San Marco’s in Much Hoole and Angelos, next door to the new bar.
Carlo Vragagnini, who runs the firm with his parents and three brothers, said: “We bought the building a few years ago and we thought that now was the right time to do something with it.
“Preston seems to be picking up a bit.
“I know we are still supposed to be in a recession, but trade seems to be doing quite well for us at the moment.
“We saw there was a gap in the market for this kind of thing in Preston, and wanted to go for it.”
The bar is set to open tonight.
But it won’t just be serving late-night cocktails.
Carlo said the building will be a ‘chameleon’, serving coffee and pastries from 10am until midday, then Italian-themed tapas and sharing plates, before welcoming in the cocktail crowd with some live music.
He said: “It’s the sort of thing you probably won’t see anywhere else.
“The good thing is, it’s such a big building that we can do a lot with it, and it something doesn’t work, then we can tweak it.
“In the morning we will be serving coffee for people who want a break in their shopping and then it will be tapas in the afternoon and evening.
“The actual bar will seat up to 30 people so it will be a real social atmosphere.
“Then the evenings we are licensed until 3am so we will be doing cocktails and live music.
“It is a really exciting time for us so we are really looking forward to it being open in time for Christmas.”
Stratos, named after an Italian car, because “the family are all mad about cars”, will also welcome an Italian chef who “specialises in tapas” and a high-end finish.
Carlo said: “It’s in a good location just off the main strip so we think it’s the perfect spot and we can’t wait to open.”