Blackpool's Waterloo Music Bar celebrates building's big 120

A popular Blackpool venue which has staved off the threat of closure is celebrating a major milestone this year - the big 120.

Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 4:41 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd April 2021, 4:42 pm
The lounge in the Waterloo Music Bar has been completely revamped for when the venue reopens. Photo: Kelvin Stuttard

Although the Waterloo Music Bar itself has been running for some five years, the imposing pub where it is based was first opened in 1901.

Ian Fletcher, who founded and runs the music bar, is planning to celebrate the birthday of the original Waterloo Hotel building with a free night of music and a party atmosphere on Monday June 21 - the date when all restrictions for the hospitality industry officially end.

Parts of the building, on the corner of Waterloo Road Road and Central Drive, have already been restored in recent months and the main lounge extensively revamped.

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The bar inside Waterloo Music Bar is covered with photos of people who have helped keep them open.

Ian says the event will not just be celebrating the Edwardian pub's birthday but the very first date of the hospitality industry getting back to 'normal' after the grim endurance of several Covid lockdowns which at one stage threatened to shut the place for good.

The music bar was saved thanks to a campaign by the Music Venues Trust and, in particular, the huge response of Blackpool residents and supportive rock bands which raised £45,000.

Ians is also hoping to hear from anyone who knows about the long history of the Waterloo Hotel, which once accepted paying guests and was a functioning hotel.

Ian says: "The Government says June 21 is the date when all restrictions are ended for pubs, restaurants and other establishments, and that is when we want to celebrate.

Ian Fletcher of the Waterloo Music Bar in Blackpool

"It means we can finally get back to doing what we do best - hosting nights of music at full capacity, with everyone standing instead of sitting down.

"Hopefully, there won't be any changes in the rules before then to force us to change our plans.

"I'm also hoping to stage an even bigger celebration for the 120 later in the year.

"I've had a lot of help with the work on the premises and I'd like to thank everyone involved for that."

Ian says Fylde coast bands Smoking Monkey and Dirty Work have so been booked to play on June 21, and they are planning to work together for the bash under the name Dirty Monkey.

The gig is planned to begin at 7pm.

Despite the disappointment of the Waterloo Music Bar being turned down for a Government Covid grant because of tough rules, Ian says he is hoping that 2021 will see the venue back to normal from June onwards, welcoming local and national bands and artistes which made it so popular in the first place.

Anyone with information or photos regarding the Waterloo Hotel can email Ian at: [email protected]