Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Belfast's Rotterdam bar saved by recession

One of Belfast's most famous live music venues, The Rotterdam Bar, has been saved from demolition after the economic slowdown has put the brakes on a new luxury redevelopment which would have seen it destroyed.

The bar in the historic dockland area of Sailortown is an iconic venue for live music acts and has attracted everyone from established rock legends through to new bands, and traditional musicians.

A huge internet campaign to save the Rotterdam from the bulldozer had been launched but its army of fans had thought they had lost when the venue shut its doors to the public earlier this year.

However, it has been given an 11th hour stay of execution as the planned housing development which would have seen it flattened has been put on hold due to the credit crisis and downturn in the property market.

Now the bar is back open and owners say they have been told that its future is safe, at least for the short term.

The Rotterdam's Events Coordinator Stevie Batt said last night: "It would have been a crime if this historic bar had been destroyed and all those who campaigned to save it can breathe a little easier now.

"The great news is that the Rotterdam is open for business again and I have been busy lining up a great mix of live acts to get music fans a great night out and to give the musicians their own place to perform.

"The long-term future is still uncertain and this is more of a stay of execution than a final victory but it is certainly a step in the right direction.

"We are looking at a short term future of around three years and after that everything is up in the air again but I want to get the message out there to everyone that the Rotterdam is definitely back in business."

The bar, famous for its low ceilings, open fire, live music and great Guinness, had clung onto its old world feel and had built up a loyal fan base because of its unique character.

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