Back with a bang on May 22, Riva Show Bar a family-run business in Preston has felt the full force of the ongoing pandemic as they have been shut for a majority of the last lockdown year.Advertisement
Dave-John Billington, 59 and owner of Riva said “We’ve been open and closed, open and closed. It’s been such hard work, we deal with hundreds of people and have had to rearrange everything with all the different acts we accommodate.
“I actually can’t wait to go back to work for a break. It’s all this planning which is the toughest, when everything work like clockwork on the night it’s great.”
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Working in the hospitality sector since 1983, Dave said he had never seen anything like the last year before. Taking a loan out himself, Dave explained he has more friends in the industry who have had to take out loans, re-mortgage their houses and sell things just to get by.
After first opening the doors to the Show Bar located in Tithebarn Street in late 2019, Dave didn’t expect just months later he would have to close.
He said: “It was so sad the day we had to walk away, I didn’t think it would last a year. I was gutted and completely devastated at the time.”
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However, time closed hasn’t been time wasted for the team at Riva show bar as two new bars have been put in and Dave describes the venue as being ‘completely gutted out’.
Riva is often the home to acts from up and down the country as they intend to bring more tourism to the city of Preston. The opening night will be 80’s themed and Preston’s Mayor is scheduled to make an appearance.
Dave from Riva described his biggest struggle to be rearranging all the acts on their tours, cancelling and rebooking hotels and trying to sort out all the tour dates and fit them back in. Luckily Riva now has acts rebooked every Saturday until the end of the year due to a hefty backlog.
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The hospitality industry has taken a huge hit since being shut due to COVID-19. Dave describes how the business had fully stocked up prior to the festive season with ‘fridges full of hotdogs and barrels full of beer’ just to be told they must close.
Dave has big plans for Riva ahead, those which include a student night and LGBTQ events. He said big investments have gone into the venue to ensure it is all ‘COVID safe’ and adaptations will be made to make everything as safe as possible.
For more information about the reopening of Riva you can visit their Facebook page.
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Have you been to Riva Show Bar? Will you be attending the opening night?