The landlord of an Aberdeen pub has launched a campaign to help its secure its future.
The St Machar Bar has been a favourite watering hole for thousands of students over the years, as it is within the university’s campus.
Since taking over the lease two years ago, Darren Murray and his “small team” have had to contend with both coronavirus and distribution issues.
Throughout lockdown the “small team” switched to takeaways in an attempt to stay afloat, and are now keen to buy-out the remaining lease to secure the bar’s future for years to come.
A Crowdfunder has been set up, and for every £1 donated supporters will receive a £1.50 voucher for the bar. In total, Mr Murray is hoping to raise £250,000.
More than £6,000 has already been raised, which will also be put towards refurbishing parts of the pub which have fallen into disrepair, like the plumbing.
Mr Murray told us: “We know it is a longshot, but if we can raise this money, I think we can bring the bar back to its roots and really help people who have helped us. If we don’t manage it, however, we will be giving the money back to everyone who donated.
“We know if we can make it through the last 18 months, we can make it through anything, but everything is uncertain, and nothing is impossible.”
Buy-out would help repay breweries for lockdown support
The 31-year-old hopes that by taking ownership of the bar, he’ll be able to support the local breweries that helped keep his business afloat during lockdown by supporting the takeaway service.
“There were times when we were trying to serve customers and supply of household name beers was basically nonexistent,” he said.
“We really came to rely on local breweries and their product to function like an off-license during parts of lockdown.”
Having seen the success that other bars and breweries have had with similar Crowdfunders and being unable to get support from the bank due to the volatility of the hospitality industry at the minute, this is Mr Murray’s plan A.
He said: “Following the latest easing of restrictions, people have started coming back to the bar more and more.
“As part of our five-year lease, we have an option to buy at the end, but they have given us an offer we couldn’t pass up without trying.”
With restrictions easing, the space has started hosting events again, including the return of their popular whisky tastings which have been held through their Facebook page