A popular cafe and cocktail bar in Carlisle has announced that it will be closing after 19 years as a 'staple' of the city's nightlife scene.

People have come forward to express their sadness over the closure of the bar, which held a special place in the memories of those who frequented the city's bars and pubs.

Former manager of the Circle Bar, Katharine Simmons, said it was a special moment for her when in 2019 she initially got a job at the bar she knew so well.

"It was such a popular place, so when I actually got the job there I was so excited," said Katharine, 26.

"It was the first place I went to have a legal drink when I was 18.

"My sister would go there, and my friends would always want to go and meet there when we were going out for drinks.

"It has been a staple of Carlisle for a very long time, so seeing it go is really sad.

"As a part of the local nightlife, it was a place where everybody wanted to go for many years.

"You had to book or you couldn't get in.

Katharine described her final shift on Halloween, when another national lockdown was announced by the Government, as "the most tense and uncomfortable shift to work on."

"You could feel the tension, because people were so unsure about what was going to happen that day, and as soon as it was announced that lockdown was happening again, there was a parade of people just coming into town.

"We understood that people were tense and wanted to be served as quickly as possible, but we weren't able to have everybody on at the same time to try and reduce contact within the building.

"It was a shame not to be able to give it the proper send off that it deserved."

Katherine said she will remember her time there as a customer and ex-member of staff fondly.

She added: "The people there were spot on.

"Everybody got on with each other and it was like a little family."

"There was always your regular bunch, but it was also a calm and friendly atmosphere and everybody chatted with everybody.

"You could stand up and dance at your table if you wanted to.

"The cocktails were the best in town, so I'm really glad that I learnt those skills to make those cocktails for myself."

A spokesperson for the Circle Bar said: "2020-21 has been an extremely hard year for many of us in the hospitality industry, and unfortunately after 19 years we have come to the unfortunate decision that Circle Bar will have to close permanently.

"We would like to thank all our brilliant customers through the years, coming in time and time again for our food, drinks, and atmosphere!

"Most importantly we’d like to thank our Staff through the years, 19 years of your dedication and help to define Circle as a staple of Carlisle night life.

"Thank you so much for the many years of ongoing support.