Belfast Telegraph

Pub gloom deepens as Belfast nightclub put on market for just £300,000

By Margaret Canning

A well-known Belfast nightspot has gone on the market with a price tag of £300,000.

Coral Inns, the former owner of Rain nightclub in Tomb Street close to the Cathedral Quarter, went into administration in August last year.

The business comes with a leasehold interest in the building, described by agents Osborne King as a "converted former bond warehouse" which can hold 520 revellers.

Coral Inns signed up to a company voluntary arrangement at the end of 2011 after running up debts with HM Revenue and a drinks supplier.

Earlier that year the firm was fined a total of £5,000 for breaches of its entertainments licence when it admitted three counts of overcrowding.

Belfast City Council's licensing committee suspended Rain's entertainments licence for seven weeks following the breaches.

During one inspection, council staff found the club had exceeded its capacity by more than 300.

However, Desmond Lynchehaun and Orla Wallace were appointed administrators by the company's directors in August last year and the club has remained open for business.

In 2012, after signing up to a voluntary agreement with the PSNI and Pubs of Ulster to close an hour earlier at 2am following the outcry after the death of Joby Murphy, the club went back to closing at 3am because of what it said was a downturn in trade.

Mr Murphy drowned in the River Lagan in January 2102 after becoming heavily intoxicated during a night out in another pub, sparking a backlash against cheap drinks promotions and late opening.

The venue was known as Milk for 10 years but reopened as Rain four years ago. Milk was set up by pub entrepreneur Mark Beirne of Life Inns who went on to help establish Filthy McNasty's on Dublin Road and El Divino at Mays Meadow close to the River Lagan.

Rain's arrival on the market comes during a fraught period for the licensed trade in Northern Ireland.

Botanic Inns Ltd and sister company Kurkova recently went into administration. The former's six venues -- the Northern Whig, the Fly, the Elms, King's Head, Botanic Inn, Madison's hotel -- have been acquired by the group's former managing director, Stephen Magorrian.

The industry in general is struggling with the effects of the economic downturn and the growing popularity of drinking at home.


From Belfast Telegraph