Belfast Telegraph

Stiff Kitten closes: Tenancy row sees end of city's Stiff Kitten nightclub

By Margaret Canning

Belfast nightclub Stiff Kitten – which played host to DJs including Calvin Harris and Carl Cox – has closed its doors after a row over rent with its landlord.

Shine Productions, which has been running the Dublin Road venue for nearly 10 years, said it shut at the weekend after failing to reach new terms with its landlord, UK-wide car park operator NCP.

It's understood negotiations were ongoing for up to a year between Shine and NCP, which runs a car park in the complex.

Alan Simms, who worked with Phil Donaldson to open the club in 2005 after redeveloping a vacant site, said its location in Bankmore Square had also made life difficult.

"The Stiff Kitten site has always been a challenging location in which to operate, even more so in recent years with increased competition and a move in business to the Cathedral Quarter.

"To stand a chance of working going forward, the venue needs a substantial reinvestment and unfortunately we were unable to get the reassurances we needed from our landlord in order to make such a commitment."

Mr Simms said they had also been busy with businesses in the portfolio, which include the Limelight and Katy Daly's.

He said: "Whilst it's very disappointing, we're already working away on some new projects which we'll have news on very soon.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the customers who have supported the venue over the years." As well as dance music DJs, the venue also attracted indie music luminaries and local heroes Two Door Cinema Club, and singer-songwriter Ben Howard.

But it was on drawing in stars of the stature of Harris that the club staked its reputation – charging only £4 to see him just over five years ago.

Other DJs who played there include Mark Ronson, 2 Many DJs and Sasha. Shine Productions are the latest Belfast pub or nightclub tenants to give up their keys in recent months.

Horatio Group walked away from The Fly following a dispute over its lease, while Kris and Stephen Nixon gave up their tenancy of White's Tavern. The Fly has now been sold to Fortuna Inns – though it's understand a party linked to Stiff Kitten also considered the venue.

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