An Australian-themed bar that holds memories for thousands of revellers in Leeds has closed its doors for the last time.
The owners of Walkabout, in Cookridge Street, have decided to shut the venue down after they described its levels of trade as “below our expectations”.
Its closure means the end of a near 14-year association with the city after it opened in November 1999.
The venue, which was well known for showing live sports and serving Aussie-themed food and drink, was split into Walkabout and cocktail bar Masseys City Booksellers in 2011 but it has emerged that both bars have closed.
A spokesman for iNTERTAIN, which owns Walkabout pubs, said: “While we are very disappointed to be closing, it will allow us to further focus on our national investment plans which have already seen the complete refurbishment of 13 venues across the UK, creating hundreds of new jobs.
“We have plans for more refurbishments over the next 18 months, and in due course, the acquisition of new Walkabout venues, so this is an incredibly exciting time for the brand.”
Six of the nine staff employed at Masseys and Walkabout have already been relocated, while iNTERTAIN say they are hoping to find posts for the other three.
The future of the building, which was privately leased by iNTERTAIN, is unclear.
The YEP’s resident beer writer Simon Jenkins said of the closure: “In the cold light of day, stripped of its customers, its DJ, and its sporting tension, Walkabout takes on the feel of a nightclub the morning after the night before. Tired, hungover and no atmosphere at all.
“But on the great sporting occasions, particularly those which involved an Aussie team, this was a great place to come.”
Visitors to the venue past and present have been expressing their sadness at the closure on Twitter.
User S Gillibrand tweeted: “Leeds Walkabout closing #SadFace.”
Ruan Shah posted: “RIP @WalkaboutLeeds”
Walkabout has been hosting a number of cut price events to sell off the venue’s last bits of stock, with 50 per cent off all drinks at recent events.
Last year iNTERTAIN announced that it would refurbish 15 to 20 of its Walkabout venues.