Couple set to open their dream business in Halifax

Maxine Helliwell and Jackie Sharp
Maxine Helliwell and Jackie Sharp

A couple from Halifax are about to turn their dream into a reality when they open their own wine bar in the town centre.

Jackie Sharp and Maxine Helliwell, who live in Boothtown, will open Evokesomm Wine Bar & Kitchen at The Old Arcade on February 16.

Jackie has quit her job as a civil servant in order to run the bar, while Maxine will still be working in her job in the energy industry.

Maxine said: “We’ve been thinking about it for the last three years. We’re both really interested in wine.

“We’ve always thought other wine bars were never quite what we wanted and that we could do it better.

“We’ve designed it ourselves - it’s definitely our child!

“We don’t have children so we can devote our time to it and we’re very passionate about it.

“Our ethos is that we’re putting ourselves into the business - it’s not just another chain.

“I can’t believe it’s finally going to be open, it’s really exciting.

“We would hope we might be able to open another one in the future, perhaps in Hebden Bridge, if we could find the right place.”

The bar will feature a self-service wine machine which will allow customers to consume wine by the glass and try more expensive wines without having to buy the whole bottle.

Maxine is hoping she and Jackie can replicate the success of other independent bars in the town.

“We were looking in Sowerby Bridge but couldn’t find anywhere suitable, but saw the place in the old arcade and thought it was perfect,” she added.

“I’ve been on three different wine courses to understand it more.

“We’ve had to beg, steal and borrow to fund the business but we’re confident we will recoup the investment.

“It’s a new market with independent bars, and craft ale bars.

“We are aiming to follow in the footsteps of The Grayston Unity, The Pump Room, Alexanders Bar and the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe.

“The success of those places gives us hope that we will do well.”