King’s Lynn’s Bar & Beyond shuts down after seven years due to ‘unviable’ finances
A popular nightclub and bar’s closure has been met with disappointment – with some saying its “big presence” will be missed.
Bar and Beyond on Lynn’s Norfolk Street shared a Facebook announcement on Friday which said it is among 17 sites owned by companies within the Rekom Group that would be closing with immediate effect.
The weekend hotspot venue first opened in March 2017 after a £450,000 investment with ten booths, three bars, and an outside terraced area – in the former Chicago's site.
The decision has led to disappointment in some quarters.
Vicky Etheridge, the manager of Lynn’s Business Improvement District, said: “From a BID point of view, we're sorry to learn of the closure of Bar & Beyond and the impact this will have on their employees and their families.
“We are aware that a number of hospitality businesses in town are looking to recruit so hope that those connections will be made.
“Bar & Beyond and Chicago's before them have had a big presence in Norfolk Street for a long time and will be missed.
“The nighttime economy is evolving post-Covid and in response to changing lifestyles and a drop in disposable income.
“It's a challenging time for the hospitality trade. We have an increasingly diverse nighttime and hospitality offered in the town which offers something for a wide range of tastes and ages.”
Grant Thornton UK LLP has been appointed as administrators to seven companies in the UK within the Rekom Group.
Norwich Bar & Beyond is owned by a company that is not in administration and will continue to operate, meanwhile the future of Vinyl in Cambridge – and ten other UK sites – is secure after being sold.
Despite the closure, staff at the Mojito Lounge nightclub in town are not too worried about its own future.
A spokesperson at Mojito Lounge said: “We are getting towards the finish of our refurbishment and fully invested into our project of expansion for 2024.
“The industry is difficult and we were not surprised to see Bar & Beyond close and hope all their staff find alternative employment soon.”
The Rekom Group – which operates nightclubs, bars, and pubs across the country – said in a statement: “The companies have faced challenging trading conditions due to the cost-of-living crisis, resulting in increasing cash flow pressure and a decline in trading performance.”
It added: “Following a review of the business it is with regret that we now announce the closure of 17 sites with immediate effect.
“Those staff affected by today’s announcements have been briefed. Working closely with the Redundancy Payments office, we will be providing support to those affected.”
Peter Marks, chairman of Rekom UK, said: “We have made every effort to redeploy staff across the business where possible and we’re pleased to have saved around 1,000 jobs.
“Regrettably, however, the reduced estate meant it was inevitable that we would have to make some redundancies.
“We have informed all colleagues within the organisation of the unfortunate developments that have taken place over the last 18 days.
“The outcome follows an extremely difficult period for the late-night sector, thanks to the combination of the cost-of-living crisis hitting younger generations and students particularly hard, as well as the rising National Living Wage alongside increased business rates and costs of operating.”
And Jon Roden, restructuring partner for Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “It is with regret that despite an extensive marketing and sale process prior to the administration and the best efforts of the directors and the company’s advisors, no interested parties have been identified for a number of sites.
“Accordingly, the administrators have had to close 17 sites because the commercial prospects of the affected businesses render them unviable to continue to operate resulting in approximately 471 redundancies.
“The Grant Thornton team will work with the employees affected to support them through this process.
“We are pleased to report that we have been able to sell 11 sites immediately on appointment to Rekom that has preserved approximately 500 jobs, as well as further jobs secured through the solvent sale of two trading companies.”