A HIDDEN gem on Southend High Street allows food and wine lovers to take a step back in time in the midst of a global pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic first hit our shores in March and lockdown restrictions remain in place as Covid-19 continues to cause havoc.

One of the restrictions put in place last month was for pubs and restaurants to shut their doors at 10pm every night, which is having an effect on businesses up and down the country.

But you are able to forget about the coronavirus worries taking place by heading underground and into the Pipe of Port.

The restaurant, which first opened its doors in 1976 as Davy’s Wine Bar, was taken over by Martin Day and his wife Katy in 2013.

Martin spent many years as the Pipe of Port manager before becoming a wine buyer for one of the country’s largest wine merchants.


Out of sight - the Pipe of Port is hidden in a basement below Southend High Street

His knowledge of the industry means the Pipe of Port is able to host wine tasting events and have cellars offering a wide range of alcohol from around the world.

Martin hopes the much-loved restaurant will be able to fight off the financial implications that have come with the deadly coronavirus and continue to welcome customers seeking a trip back to years gone by.

He said: “The Pipe of Port has been a mainstay of Southend High Street for nearly 45 years.

“I believe only Tomassi’s has been open longer than us on the High Street.


“The restaurant offers a unique Dickensian setting that will remind customers of many a city bar.

“We are famous for our award-winning pies and extensive wine list, while we also run wine tasting events on a regular basis.

“Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we are now hosting the wine tasting events online.”

Martin and Katy have ensured the restaurant retains the same values and philosophies as under previous owners, while they have also put their own stamp on it by employing an experienced mixologist to expand the Pipe of Port’s cocktail and spirits menu.


Tasty - the Pipe of Port offers an abundance of food options, including award-winning pies

The restaurant is also popular when it comes to the south Essex community looking for the perfect Sunday roast.

But Martin says the Pipe of Port also welcomes those looking to conduct business while enjoying a high-quality meal or wine.

He added: “The Pipe of Port is perfect for romantic meals, family get-togethers and business meetings as we have some private dining rooms available.

“I would, without a doubt, recommend the Pipe of Port to everyone.”

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