The Original Bierkeller in Lincoln has shut down and is looking for a new home after disagreements over a new lease with Lincolnshire Co-op.
The bar brought a slice of German culture to Lincoln when it first opened on Silver Street in June 2017 and news of its closure was met with a lot of disappointment, attracting over 2,000 comments on social media.
Lincolnshire Co-op own the building and J D Wetherspoon PLC were the most recent tenants (former Forum venue) who in turn sublet it to Harewood Group Ltd, trading as Bierkeller.
J D Wetherspoons PLC exercised the right to bring that tenancy to an end in October last year, leaving Bierkeller to try and sort one with Lincolnshire Co-op, but an agreement could not be reached.
The bar claims the decision was forced on them by Lincolnshire Co-op and meant they had to make staff redundant and remove fixtures and fittings into storage whilst it looks for a new home.
A statement from Bierkeller said: “We are very sad to announce that the Original Bierkeller in Lincoln has closed and will not reopen. We are seeking a new home.
“This was a decision forced on us by our landlord the Lincolnshire Co-op who, after 12 months of negotiations for a new lease and resulting in us spending over £35,000 in preparations (money we could ill afford as we have been closed since March due to government COVID restrictions), decided at the last minute that they didn’t want to complete the new lease after all.
“As a result we had only three working days to close down, make remaining staff redundant and remove our fixtures and fittings to store.
“The Original Bierkeller has been a successful and well loved part of the nighttime economy in the city and we are devastated by the closure and its impact on the team and our customers who we would like to thank for all of their love and support.
“We are currently looking for a new home and we will update you as soon as we have news. Stay safe and see you soon.”
A spokesperson for Lincolnshire Co-op said: “In the months leading up to October, we worked hard to try and reach an agreement with the owners of Bierkeller to take on a new lease with us directly. We know how popular the venue was for local people and we want to keep our properties occupied.
“However, despite our best efforts we couldn’t overcome some contractual and compliance matters prior to the JD Wetherspoons lease expiring and so unfortunately, we weren’t able to conclude matters in the time available.
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, our team have been talking to tenants individually so we can understand their situation. We have offered a wide range of support including rent concessions, payment plans and practical help.”
Over 2,000 people left memories and comments on the venue’s social media announcement, including Tilly Bean who said: “This is honestly devastating. The idea of a post-COVID night at Bierkeller was keeping me and my mates going through lockdown.
“I have so many fantastic memories dancing on the tables. It was the first bar in Lincoln that I felt safe in as a fresher and continued to as a second year with my friends. I wish the best to the owners and the staff.”