Blackpool’s longest running party bar is up for sale – and fears are growing it could be set to close.
Staff at Rumours, on Talbot Square, Blackpool, say they have been told there is uncertainty surrounding their jobs prompting fears the venue may be facing closure.
But owner Peter Rickson told The Gazette no redundancy notices had been served.
He said: “The discussions I have been involved in are confidential and it would not be appropriate to talk about it.”
The venue, which also includes the ground floor Hush club, is on the market with Duxburys Commercial, which is advertising the four-storey nightspot as being for sale with a guide price of £975,000.
One member of staff at Rumours, who asked not to be named, said workers had been called into an emergency meeting last Friday and told their jobs could be at risk.
He said: “A lot of people have worked here for a long time, and some of them were in tears. Many of us rely on our jobs here for our main income.”
Rumours opened in 1983 and became famous for its scantily-clad bar staff.
The venue is open as normal into the new year. On New Year’s Eve DJs will perform throughout the night as the venue opens from 10pm to 4am.
Around 40 people work at Rumours.
Past guests have included Liverpool footballers Robbie Fowler and Steven Gerrard, as well as former football manager Ron Atkinson, Jimmy White and Alex Higgins, comedians Russ Abbott and Jim Davidson, plus stars from Coronation Street, EastEnders, Emmerdale and Brookside.
Craig Southall, chairman of Blackpool Pubwatch, said: “Rumours is one of the iconic venues of Blackpool. But it is such a tough time for the industry at the moment.
“It would be a shame if it closes and I hope it will get new investment.
“But that might be affected with the EMRO (Early Morning Restriction Order) hanging over our heads at the moment.”
Blackpool Council is proposing to introduce an EMRO which would mean bars and clubs in part of the town centre closing no later than 3am.
Rumours, which currently has a 4am licence seven days a week, underwent a major refurbishment in 2006.
Steve Lynton, aka former Rumours DJ Steve Martell, who now runs The Granada Fish Bar and Restaurant in Fleetwood, said he would be very sad if the club did close.
He said: “I worked there for 20 years and it was nice to see my original concept do so well since 1983.
“In its heyday, there were 12,000 local Rumours members who went to the club because they knew it was safe.
“And the list of celebrities we had is endless, every other week there was someone famous going in.
“I remember the Pet Shop Boys coming in in the ‘80s when they were at the height of their fame, the Nolans and even Mick Hucknall once came in.”
Another famous Blackpool nightclub, The Syndicate, closed its doors in 2011.