A NEW swish £220,000 tapas bar has opened to rave reviews despite concerns a town is now saturated with places to drink.

Harry’s Bar has opened in the former Emporium shop in Billericay High Street to the delight of customers wanting to sample some Spanish variety in the town.

But its opening has been controversial as it takes the total number and bars and pubs in the town centre to 11.

Harry’s Bar owner Mark Stevens was inundated with complaints from residents when he unveiled his plans, but says the opening is now being supported by locals.

Mr Stevens, who also owns Bar West One and Murphy’s Sports Bar in Brentwood, said: “It has been like a dream come true to finally get the bar open and it looks lovely.

“Its just the way I imagined it would be and, despite the opposition we had before we opened, the customers have been really positive.

“We have even had people who objected to the plans come in and say it looks great and it’s much better than they expected it would be.

A total of 20 new jobs have also been created at the bar including managers, bar staff, chefs and cleaners.

Phil Turner, deputy leader of Basildon Council and a Billericay ward councillor is keeping an eye on incidents coming out of nightspots.

He said: “Billericay residents will not tolerate bad neighbours in our high street and the evidence we are collecting will go towards asking for reviews of licenses up to and including revocation.”

Billericay pubs and bars The Rising Sun The White Hart The Red Lion The Chequers The Blue Boar Stewarts/Vetro Bar Harry’s Bar The Crown The Railway Ivory Rooms Coach and Horses