The owner of Bar Bodega has opened up on "the perfect storm" that has forced him to close the Watford venue.

The town centre bar had only welcomed customers back on May 19 but this week confirmed it was shutting with uncertainty surrounding its future.

Owner Joe Holdsworth, 38, revealed that long-term issues facing the industry and Covid restrictions had “ravaged” Bodega – adding it had been hit by “the perfect storm of hot weather, Euros, no shows and beer pricing”.

He also ripped into the Government’s pandemic handling claiming it has tipped many venues like his over the edge.

Watford Observer: Watford's Bar Bodega. Picture credit: Google Street View.Watford's Bar Bodega. Picture credit: Google Street View.

“The blame sits solely with the Government,” he said.

“Not even with Covid itself, the Government response with regards to my industry, the wedding sector, breweries, wine suppliers, all of it has been decimated by inadequate Government support.

“They don’t seem to understand the knock-on effect to hundreds of thousands of people in the country.”

The owner stressed that no blame should be placed with punters, many of which opt for beer gardens in the summer, but that ultimately less use in hot weather also impacts its viability.

Watford Observer: Owner Joe Holdsworth in the bar.Owner Joe Holdsworth in the bar.

However, he also paid tribute to the "institution" that has been running for over 20 years.

“Bodega has meant so much to so many,” Joe said.

“People have met their wives and husbands here, they had that final row here that led to divorce, people have had children with people they met here.

“It’s an institution. A bar like this established in 1999 will have a plethora of beautiful stories not just from locals but from further afield.”

Watford Observer: Bar Bodega owner Joe Holdsworth.Bar Bodega owner Joe Holdsworth.

Joe said it had been a huge part of his life meeting families, regulars and “the old gits” – all of which had become part of the fabric of Bodega.

He continued: “I’m very sad I don’t feel like I can continue with their bar.

“I do not feel I can make this work and the people I feel most sorry for are the people on Instagram and Facebook showing their dismay and the outpouring of support.

“It is more than just a bar in Watford for so many.”