The owners of a live music bar and restaurant have announced they are selling after a quarter of a century following a “difficult year”.
The Chambers was opened by husband-and-wife team Chris and Liz Smith in Cheriton Place, Folkestone, in 1998.
It quickly became one of the town’s top spots for music, going from a standing basement bar to a social, musical and artistic hub.
But despite the venue's success, the couple feel now is the right time to hand over the keys and are preparing for their last Christmas behind the bar.
In a statement, they said: “We never dreamt of being here for a quarter of a century when we opened back in 1998 and we've reached that milestone through the support of our community, customers and particularly the hard work and dedication of our many staff, including our children.
“Although over the last year, it’s been as tough for us as it has for many businesses in Folkestone, it has been a particularly difficult year from a personal standpoint.
“Ultimately this is what has led us to step away and change direction at the 25-year mark. It just seemed right.
“This will be the last Christmas and New Year here at the Chambers for Chris and Liz and we will be placing our beloved venue up for sale in 2024.
“We will be trading at full capacity until a sale is completed and look forward very much indeed to enjoying this coming Christmas and New Year with you all at The Chambers and hope to see your smiling faces over the winter months.
“We think…well, actually that’s not right…you’ve made us believe that The Chambers has become something a bit more than it was started out to be.
“You’ve all given us support that has been more than we could’ve ever asked for and for that you’ll have our love and gratitude always.
“For our part, we’ve loved almost all of everything we’ve tried to put here for us, you and most importantly for the town we love/live in – Folkestone.
“We feel happy that we’ve left our mark and that it’s quite a nice one.”
Last year, the Smiths coordinated the local response to the humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine along with local musician Brian Hoyle.
Buskers performing outside The Chambers raised more than £2,500 for victims of the conflict.