£1m bar proposal for art deco landmark

The Tavern, Church Street, Blackpool and (below) Michael Sugden.

The Tavern, Church Street, Blackpool and (below) Michael Sugden.

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ONE of Blackpool’s best known nightspots is poised for a £1m revamp.

The Music Hall Tavern, along with adjoining venue K2, has been sold to the Ma Kellys group which already operates three pubs in the resort.

Mick Sugden

Mick Sugden

The group plans to open an American-themed sports bar in the building on the corner of Church Street and Leopold Grove, which will be re-christened Champs.

Work is due to begin next week with the bar set to open next Easter.

It will create between 30 and 40 new jobs.

Michael Sugden, one of the directors of Ma Kellys, said; “We are planning to invest £1m in the venue which will be over two floors.

“It will be a proper American sports bar, which is something Blackpool does not have at the moment.

“There will be 30 plasma TVs showing all the sports – Premier League football, tennis, cricket, rugby, boxing, racing – as well as American pool tables.

“We believe this is a prime area for development.

“There has been a lot of investment in St John’s Square and we believe this will really help bring that area alive.

“While the men are watching the sport, their wives can go shopping, and it will also help the hotels and other venues in that area which has been a bit quiet since The Syndicate closed down.”

The inside of Champs will boast sporting memorabilia while it is proposed to create a high impact exterior.

Ma Kellys bought the art deco venue, which in an earlier life was a gas showroom, just over two weeks ago prior to the building going to auction. They have also bought an adjacent shop unit, previously occupied by clothes store Ethel Austin, which will be developed in the future as part of a second phase of investment.

The Music Hall Tavern, which closed earlier this month, was most recently being used as a rock venue.

But over the years it has had a chequered past.

It was run as a old style music hall by Patricia Higginbottom, known as Miss Patricia, but closed suddenly in 2000. Singer Joe Longthorne then fronted the venue for a few years. But it was hit by a number of setbacks including in 2003 when entertainer Danny La Rue pulled out of a late summer season at the last minute.

Ma Kelly’s already operates three pubs in Blackpool – on Foxhall Road, Dickson Road and Chapel Street.

The group recently made a bid to buy the Layton Institute but missed out when the venue was re-opened by the brewery.

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