A POPULAR bar and bistro in Bocking has closed its doors for the final time.

The Benson Bar, on Bradford Street, Bocking, was opened by local businessman John Benson in 2009.

A planning application has now been submitted to convert the bar and function room site into two flats and a house and the bar called last orders on Saturday evening.

Mr Benson said that although the bar was successful, it was a decision made from a business perspective.

“I have had the bar for eight years now.

“I only opened it as a hobby but we are still doing so much and working early mornings and late nights.

“After a while we have to see how we can maximise on the property and there is only so much we can justify spending a hobby - it was a commercial decision to close it rather than anything else.”

The bar, a grade II listed property, used to incorporate a hotel next door, which was converted into flats five years ago.

Mr Benson said: “It was a lovely bar with lovely customers

“For the past three years we have had it as a motor themed bar and people have absolutely loved it

“It is the only place I go on a Saturday night and I met my current partner there.

“When we took it over it was full of drugs and it was one of the first places to get caught after the smoking ban.

“We managed to turn it into a nice family friendly bar and restaurant.

“We had a friends 60th party there on Saturday which was a great night but it is very sad at the same time.”

The businessman said he is hopeful of obtaining permission for the flats and didn’t rule out opening The Benson Bar in different premises in the future.