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Georgian-style cafe and wine bar Itaca's set to open in North Street, Ashford this summer

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Bosses behind a Georgian-style bistro in Ashford - which will have a light-up pink bar at its centre - hope to have it open by the end of the summer.

Twin brothers Charlie and Billy Banyard are behind Itaca's, which will take over a section of the former Merchant Chandler building in North Street which has been split into two units.

As well as the bar, which will be made of pink marble, there will be giant chandeliers and rose walls and ceilings in the toilets.

By day it will be a cafe which serves afternoon tea, coffee, and light food, but by night, it will turn into a wine bar with an extensive cocktail menu.

Charlie and Billy, 29, who also live in Ashford near the town centre, first came up with the idea while on holiday in the south of France three and a half years ago.

They saw the word Itaca's etched into an old church while discussing the idea and the name has stuck ever since.

Charlie said: "Our vision is to provide Ashford with a London-style members club, restaurant and cocktail bar but it isn't just going to be for members, it will be open to everyone in Ashford but it will have that look and the feel to it.

A pink light-up bar will be the centrepiece
A pink light-up bar will be the centrepiece
How the space currently looks
How the space currently looks

"Ashford is growing so much, it's going to be the new Canterbury of Kent, if not better, which is why we want to create something special here.

"This is an iconic building and it's such a pity that it has been empty for quite a few years so we want to rebuild it and bring it back to life for everyone to enjoy.

"Itaca's will have that traditional feel and the building represents that, we didn't want a modern unit."

The front of the building, which is Grade II-listed, currently has two Georgian pillars which they want to restore to their former glory while creating two new replicas.

Four of the internal walls will be removed to open up the space, while a new wall would be created to make room for new toilet facilities.

It will be a cafe by day, and a wine bar by night
It will be a cafe by day, and a wine bar by night
The pillars outside will be restored and two replicas made
The pillars outside will be restored and two replicas made

They have also applied for a licence for outdoor seating.

This is the first project of its kind the pair have taken on with the help from their step dad Steve, who has a background in construction, and Tom Jenkins from the economic development team at Ashford Borough Council.

The twins will manage the venue but hope to hire at least six members of staff including baristas, waiters and mixologists to help them out.

In the adjacent part of the building, which more recently housed The Collection Ashford, Fusion multi-cuisine restaurant and takeaway hopes to have 22 seats and serve a variety of foods from fish and chips, Italian pizzas and Indian masalas.

Above, there are also plans to create six luxury apartments although it is not clear when this work will start.

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