A former Whitehaven woman is part of a team of three which has opened a unique city-centre bar.

Carlisle’s newest bar Amante hopes to bring a botanical feel to the city’s drinking scene.

Directors Sarah Dempster, 40, Matt Guthrie, 31 and Joe Wilkinson, 54, are the team behind the bar that is housed in the city’s former Royal Hotel.

Sarah, who is originally from Whitehaven, said: “I fancied owning my own bar so I had a look around the city at a few possibilities but this one had the most potential.

“I’d never noticed it before but when we came in it didn’t have a roof, it was overgrown with trees and there were rodents everywhere. Safe to say it wasn’t the best. It had no plumbing or wiring.

“I liked the fact that it had separate areas rather than one big space.”

But the directors saw that the building had potential and, with Joe a builder by trade, he knew what needed to be done to make it what it is today.

More than £500,000 has been spent turning the bar and garden into what it is today.

Sarah added: “The bar has a botanical theme to it and I think the name Amante, which my daughter found, gives it a feminine touch. It means ‘in love’.”

A cocktail list that reflects some of the building’s history as a hotel is on offer including Lady of the Manor and Passionate Affair. There are also cocktails featuring the birthdays of the directors.

Amante is just the first phase and the directors have future plans.

Matt said: “We’re looking at a restaurant in the second year and a boutique hotel in the third year of trading.

“One step at a time.”