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Three Belfast bars saved from closure

By Heather McGarrigle

Three of Belfast's most popular music bars have been rescued from administration.

The Limelight, Katy Daly's and Spring and Airbrake are to be purchased by Belfast events company Shine Productions and Dublin-based concert promoter MCD.

CDC Leisure and associated company Tarwood, which owned the three venues, as well as Auntie Annies bar and club on the Dublin, was placed into administration in June 2010.

Since then, administrator John Hansen of KPMG has kept the businesses trading, with the aim of selling each as a going concern. It is thought this latest deal is worth a fraction of the reported £13m paid for all four bars in 2007.

Founder and co-director of Shine Productions Alan Simms was tight-lipped about the agreed sum, but the three bars had been on the market with an advertised guide price of £1.95m.

Mr Simms confirmed the sale was going ahead and that it is due to complete today.

He said the business partnership plans to continue the live music tradition associated with the bars.

Mr Simms said: "For nearly three decades they've been a centre for live music and that's part of what attracted us to them.

"So it will be business as usual, we're not interested in reinventing the wheel. If anything, we hope to improve the infrastructure, improve the experience for performers and customers and maybe increase the frequency of live shows."

Auntie Annies is still for sale but it is hoped it will also be snapped up by a buyer soon. In his administrator's report, John Hansen had said a number of offers for the bars had been received.

The most recent price tag on the Dublin Road venue gives an advertised guide price of £650,000.

The Limelight has been a key part of Belfast's music scene for decades, playing host to world famous bands as well as small local acts and weekly club nights.

Katy Daly's has long been established as a well loved music bar, usually playing host to more low key bands or open mic nights.

The Spring and Airbrake opened in 2004, providing an additional live music venue alongside Katy's and the Limelight.


From Belfast Telegraph