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Save the Sunflower Bar: Petition reaches more than 1,500 signatures in less than 24 hours

By Claire Williamson

Published 01/12/2015

The Sunflower Bar
The Sunflower Bar

A petition launched to save the bar, recently named the best in Belfast, from demolition has received more than 1,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

The Sunflower Bar, which just two weeks ago was crowned best city bar at the Pubs of Ulster Awards 2015, which is under threat as part of regeneration plans.

The concerns are part of the proposed Northside regeneration scheme which will see the area between Royal Avenue and Carrick Hill transformed with student halls and apartment blocks.

Musician Stuart Lunn who started the petition to save the iconic bar said it could never be replaced.

The building has withstood some of the darkest moments in Northern Ireland's history and regulars are not willing to give it up easily.

It was targeted several times during The Troubles and today still has the security cage that was fitted following a gun attack in 1988.

Since owner Pedro Donald took over in 2012 it has gone from strength to strength - and he said he is willing to fight for it.

Stuart (29) who has played in the Sunflower Bar multiple times with his band Chase the River, told the Belfast Telegraph that no-where compares to the Sunflower bar as a music venue.

"There is just no-where like the sunflower bar because over the years they haven't had the support and started to close down", he said.

"It's one of these bars that has such a homely and welcoming atmosphere that I just don't want to see the end to another great bar in Belfast."

Chair of Hospitality Ulster Olga Walls joins winners Pedro Donald from Sunflower Bar, Belfast (Pub of the Year City)
Chair of Hospitality Ulster Olga Walls joins winners Pedro Donald from Sunflower Bar, Belfast (Pub of the Year City)
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Guests at the Pub of the Year 2015 awards at the La Mon Hotel
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell joins Beannchor GroupÄôs Petra and Bill Wolsey as Bill received the Industry Legend award at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015, in recognition of his commitment to the local hospitality industry.
Beannchor GroupÄôs Petra and Bill Wolsey celebrate as Bill received the Industry Legend award at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015, in recognition of his commitment to the local hospitality industry.
Sindile Moyo from Ulster University celebrates with Professor Una McMahon-Beattie as she was named Rising Star at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015.
Christine McNally and Sharon Foster from Tedfords celebrate after the restaurant received the Commitment to Local Food Restaurant award at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015.
Catrina and Dermott Friel from Friels of Swatragh celebrate as the bar received the Pub of the Rural award at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015.
Staff members from Friels of Swatragh celebrate as the bar received the Pub of the Year Rural award at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015.
Nathaniel McAuley of Muriel's Cafe Bar celebrates as he received the Best Bar Person Award in association with Sunday Life at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015.
Nathaniel McAuley of Muriel's Cafe Bar celebrates as he received the Best Bar Person Award in association with Sunday Life at Hospitality UlsterÄôs Pub of the Year Awards 2015.

He continued: "It's the atmosphere and Pedro has done an incredible job nurturing the local musical talent.

"All the bars around Belfast they are very stylish and modern but we haven't had this beautiful home for that side of our culture.

"Pedro has done an incredible job promoting that."

Stuart (pictured below playing at the Sunflower bar) said it can never be replaced.

ctrp1.jpg

 

"The plans are for redevelopment and regenerating the area - effectively the Sunflower bar has done that.

"Think about that and all the trouble that used to go on around there and that it is now a prime example of regeneration.

"Where a venue has gone from being somewhere you would cross the street to avoid to somewhere that is inclusive of everybody.

"That's exactly what a redevelopment plan is about. So it is quite strange that they are going to get rid of it."

The petition has now received more than 2,000 signatures and can be viewed here

Speaking previously defiant owner Pedro Donald told the Sunday Life: "We’ll fight our corner, we’ve no intention of going anywhere and we’ll still be here when they have the wrecking balls outside.

"It gets used for Spanish classes, dance classes, meetings, the folk club and poetry nights. It’s not just a drinking den.

“I’m genuinely delighted with the success of the place.”

He added: “They talk about investing in rundown parts of town and regeneration but that’s exactly what we have done. It was a big risk but it worked. It’s frustrating but we are up for a fight.”

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