Ex-Wrexham player to open wine bar

Neil Roberts, who made more than 100 appearances as a striker for Wrexham AFC, will be returning to the Welsh city, but he’ll be found at his new bar instead of on the pitch.

The Racecourse Ground and The Turf pub

Roberts, who enjoyed two spells at the Wrexham AFC (1994-2000 and 2006-2008) retired from professional football in 2009.

15 years later, and he has now announced that he will be opening a wine bar on the high street, in the Grade II-listed Bank of Liverpool building.

Appropriately, given the building’s banking pedigree, the new bar will be called Vault33 (the number a reference to the address).

Roberts told local news outlet The Leader that the building was a major draw: “It’s my goal that we see businesses in Wrexham continue to thrive and develop. That’s also why it’s important that we’ve kept the heritage and beauty of this building and former bank built in 1898. It’s where the traditional meets the modern – and I can’t wait for everyone to see the final results.”

Though no stranger to training during his sporting days, Roberts is also taking the preparation for his new venture seriously, as he explained: “I’m being trained behind the bars in wonderful pubs across Wrexham such as the Pant Yr Ochain, the Golden Lion, and even The Turf.”

The Turf is the pub next to Wrexham AFC’s stadium, the Racecourse Ground, it is also where the football club was founded in 1864.

Details of the wine list and possible food offering have been kept under wraps for the moment, though the bar is expected to open in late March or early April.

It’s not unheard of for former professional sportsmen to go into the bar business – ex-Leinster Rugby players Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney and Dave Kearney own several bars and restaurants in Dublin.

Wrexham AFC has been thrust into the limelight of late thanks to the celebrity status of its owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. Wrexham players even featured in an advert for Reynolds’ wife Blake Lively’s Betty Booze brand, and Four Walls, the whiskey brand co-owned by McElhenney, is now an official sponsor of the club.

This article originally appeared on the drinks business.

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