Landlords criticise ‘iconic’ bar closure

Tower Lounge in Bank Hey Street, Blackpool
Tower Lounge in Bank Hey Street, Blackpool
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The closure of the historic Tower Lounge will be a huge loss for the resort’s other bars as well as taxpayers, according to local landlords.

Bar managers and owners in Blackpool town centre have blasted the decision to close the decades old venue in November, saying it is “the mothership” venue and “an attraction in itself”.

The Gazette revealed on Saturday how Merlin Entertainments, which runs the Tower on behalf of owners Blackpool Council, plans to close the bar on November 9 to look at redevelopment 
opportunities. As yet there are no firms plans on what will replace the bar.

Craig Southall, general manager of Yates’s on Market Street, said it is a “shame” to lose an “iconic venue”.

He added: “The Tower Lounge is a big tourist attraction and apparently it makes £400,000 profit and subsidises other parts of The Tower.

“As a resident that’s a worry, that its closure could put other places in jeopardy.”

Peter Bowden of Club Domain on the promenade, formerly Club Sanuk, said: “I’m very sad to see it go.

“What right has this council to wave away hundreds of thousands of pounds of revenue without having something to replace it?

“Don’t turn the tap off to money that the town needs when there’s no Plan B.”

The move has been slammed as “snobbery” of behalf of councillors.

Dave Daly, landlord of The Castle Pub on Central Drive, said: “They shouldn’t close it because it’s not their type of people, it’s snobbery – we’re a resort for everyone.”

Iain Hawkins, head of Merlin Entertainments for Blackpool, defended the decision, saying it had always been part of Merlin’s and Blackpool Council’s plans but while there was no “hard and fast plan” for now the venue would not be closed for long.

He added: “We’re never going to please everybody. When you look at what Merlin has brought to the town, whatever we do it will benefit the town.”