Belfast Telegraph

Businesses speak with one voice and it's about Vat cut

By Margaret Canning

Commentary on pubs and clubs tends to focus on what's going on in Belfast. The city undoubtedly has a wealth of successful operators.

These range from Beannchor, owners of the Spaniard, the Garrick and others, to Willie Jack of Duke of York and Harp Bar fame, to newer arrivals like Abacus Inns, which has established Chinawhite, The Albany and Shiro.

But we should never overlook the thriving night-time economy of Londonderry and many towns around Northern Ireland.

Building contractor Patrick Scullion is one publican who is making his mark in Co Tyrone, with a revamped Time nightclub about to open in Cookstown, and a successful overhaul a few years back of the venue formerly known as Katy Daly's (beloved of many a celebrity appearance) in Strabane.

Cookstown is famous for its status as a market town, and for possessing Northern Ireland's widest - and longest - street.

The town has fostered entrepreneurialism and variety in its night-life. Back in the day when my peers were hitting pubs and nightclubs with abandon, Clubland and the Glenavon catered for two very diverse crowds.

Clubland was the destination of choice for the discerning indie kid shoegazer, while the Glenavon, inside the hotel of the same name, (I am told) attracted the farming fraternity.

My source on these important matters hasn't darkened the doors of either venue in around two decades, so the crowds attracted to the Glenavon and Clubland may no longer be so strictly segregated.

The Glenavon Hotel is still going strong and hosting Sense Nightclub in its premises.

Clubland is also still in business but at a crossroads after being put on the market through agents Osborne King.

It's understood a seller has been found and may soon sign on the dotted line, no doubt putting their own mark on the venue.

Whether they're in Belfast, Cookstown, Newry or Limavady, all venues have been united in calling for a cut in Vat for hospitality businesses, such as that enjoyed by counterparts in the Republic. Unfortunatley, it's unlikely the Chancellor will oblige in the Budget later this month but it's encouraging to see our businesses joining with one voice on such issues.

Belfast Telegraph

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