Upmarket city centre bar The Living Room was shut down and boarded up yesterday as the administrators failed to sell the bar on to a new owner.
The Broad Street bar – which is frequented by the city’s footballers – was plunged into financial trouble during the summer when it was announced that owners, Premium Bars and Restaurants, had gone into administration.
Now it has emerged that while 43 fellow bars owned by the company were saved, The Living Room in Birmingham was one of only four which failed to sell and have been closed down. A total of 37 jobs were lost when the business shut its doors.
Allan Sartori, a member of the Broad Street Business Improvement District, and owner of the The Rocket Club, said he thought the club had been bought out.
He said: “It has been struggling for 12 to 18 months but I thought it was business as normal.”
But he added: “It’s a big surprise this side of Christmas because it’s a period of guaranteed revenue
“I think this is more indicative of the general economic situation.
“The administrator is currently dealing with Christmas bookings but I feel very sorry for people who have had their plans cancelled.”
An attempt had been made to save the company’s assets last summer with a potential sale to the Reuben brothers – who also own racecourse firm Northern Racing – but the deal fell through.
Administrators BDO Stoy Hayward has said it was pleased it was able to save many of the bars in the chain, despite losing the Birmingham bar as well as two bars in London and one in Belfast.
Shay Bannon, business restructuring partner at BDO LLP, said: “It is good news that we have secured the sale of almost the entire portfolio of outlets, protecting 1,500 jobs which is positive news for the employees and the industry as a whole. “A reduction in the level of disposable income as a result of the current economic climate played a role in the Group’s difficulties.”
The Living Room’s sister bars were sold to St Albans-based company The Orchid Group, which owns more than 250 pubs and restaurants around the country.
Rufus Hall, CEO of the company, said: “This purchase further cements Orchid’s commitment to growth, and we are delighted to have completed what is an important development for the business.”
People who had Christmas, or other bookings, at The Living Room are being asked to call administrators BDO Stoy Hayward on 0161 817 7500.