Belfast Telegraph

Derry pub Bound for Boston, renowned for nurturing musical talent, closes its doors

By Garrett Hargan

A pub which has been at the centre of Londonderry’s music scene over the last two decades has become the latest casualty of the economic downturn.

Bound for Boston owner Les Doherty shared a simple message with the bar’s Facebook followers when news broke about its closure, writing: “Don't cry because it's over... smile because it happened.”

As a supporter of live music and young up-and-coming bands, the bar helped promote local talent on a weekly basis and through its annual Battle of the Bands competition.

Gerry McCloskey, head of the local Vintners Association in Derry, said he was saddened by the news, which will mean more people joining the dole queue.

“It is down to changing trends with pub owners facing high rates, and low alcohol prices at supermarkets affects local bars,” he said.

“People buy more drink these days and drink it at home and tend to come out later.

“It is a problem that can't be changed overnight and people should support local pubs and the local people they are employing.”

Customer numbers have been dwindling in Bound For Boston over the last few years, one of many local businesses that have struggled during the recession.

It has been a fixture in the local live music scene over the years and many of its customers took to social networking sites to express their sadness at the news.

“Sad days all right, some really great nights in that bar!” wrote Darrell McLaren.

Edel Armstrong added: “End of an era but the music and memories live on forever. Viva Bound For Boston!”

During the City of Culture year there was a sense of optimism amongst bar owners in the town centre as events brought thousands of visitors onto the streets.

In particular, the Fleadh attracted droves of festival-goers onto Waterloo Street, which was part of a designated street drinking area, and where the Bound for Boston pub is situated.

But last year's influx of tourists proved to be a temporary respite for some bars and other city centre businesses as there is less footfall through the city this year.

Last week another mainstay amongst Derry's business community, Shipquay Books and News, shut its doors for the last time.

It was another business in the heart of the city, whose owner cited “cripplingly high rates” for city centre traders as the main problem.


“I for one know it'll be missed this coming year. Folks, it was a pleasure. Wish everyone at the Bound For Boston success and luck for their future” — Jilly St John

“Actually in shock Bound for Boston is closed for good! Spent most of my teenage life in there, so many memories” — Ciara McGinley

“Can’t believe the BfB is closing! Had some good times in there... sad times” — Samantha Robson

“Had very fond memories in the Bound 4. A lot of music heroes passed through its doors! And many a band’s experiences on stage was platformed in the Bound 4” — Mark Holden

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