SWANSEA City legend Leon Britton has left the new beachfront venture at the former 360 cafe after taking up a full-time job with the Championship club.
Formerly due to oversee a sports academy at the St Helen’s venue while business partners Ryan Hole and Lucy Hole run the new-look restaurant and coffee bar, the 36-year-old was appointed football adviser to the Swans board last month.
He said: “I’m disappointed to leave the beachfront bar project but I know Ryan and Lucy appreciate that I want to give everything I possibly can to my new role at the Swans.”
The revamped venue was to be named Seven, in honour of the shirt number worn by the midfield maestro, but it will now be called The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen and is scheduled to open on July 1.
Mr Britton said he had high hopes for the venture, and described the Holes’ vision as “really exciting”.
He added: “I’ll be a regular customer!”
The expanded venue will have a main restaurant with a bar, a cafe bar with an area for dogs, a new entrance foyer and large outdoor seating area.
There will be also be public toilets, customer toilets and a designated facility for those with a disability.
Mr Hole and his sister Lucy, who run The Optimist bar in Uplands, were among 14 bidders keen to take over the venue following the withdrawal of the previous operator, Bay Sports.
And the siblings’ enthusiasm is undimmed.
Mr Hole said: “We understand why Leon has left. His new post with the Swans is a full-time role and he can’t dedicate the time needed to oversee a sports academy as he had originally hoped.
“This is a one-off opportunity of a lifetime for him to make a positive difference to the club he loves – and we know he couldn’t turn it down.
“We wish him and the club all the very best.”
He added: “We remain excited by, and committed to, giving the people of Swansea and its visitors a brilliant beach bar, restaurant and hub for beachfront sports.”
Mr Hole said he and his sister were talking to a number of sports groups to create a facility that would complement and improve their current use of the seafront.
“These include the Swansea Park Run directors, the Paul Popham guys, Celtic Tri and some beach yoga clubs,” he said.
Mr Hole said the new venue, which would have longer opening hours than previously, would employ around 60 staff.
Council leader Rob Stewart also wished the Swans stalwart all the best in his new role, and added: “His departure does not impact the delivery of the scheme and we remain excited about The Secret Beach Bar & Kitchen.
“The main considerations for the council remain achieving best value for council taxpayers and seeing a great new facility delivered which enhances the bay.”