A historic Moray bar that was destroyed by fire will not be rebuilt, its owner has revealed.
The Beach Bar in Lossiemouth was reduced to an empty shell following a blaze in September 2018.
In the months that followed the fire there were hopes that the building, which began life as the town’s public baths in 1875, could be preserved.
Unfortunately, demolition crews took down what was left of the site in May 2019.
Owner Graham Fleming, who worked at the pub for 30 years, was initially committed to rebuilding the venue.
He hoped to have it back up and running in 2020 but the coronavirus pandemic ended any chance of that.
And now a year down the line, the dire situation facing the hospitality trade has convinced him there won’t be any way back.
He said: “It’s safe to say that it’s now completely off the table.
“The world has changed and hospitality has taken the brunt.
“It’s not in my thoughts for several reasons now. If you built it again, it’d only be the Beach Bar in name.
“All the history and the memories were lost in that fire.”
Nightmare period for bars
The world is a very different place than it was back in 2018, especially for pubs and restaurants.
According to the Scottish Beer and Pub Association, the nation’s bars were hit with a loss of £820 million in the 12-month period since the pandemic began.
In addition, an estimated 200 venues have closed for good.
And even those who have survived are facing reduced customer numbers and opening hours.
Earlier this month, we reported on staff shortages in the hospitality industry that led to a popular Aviemore restaurant going “drinks only”.
The Winking Owl was left with no choice after being unable to staff its kitchen.
‘Everybody in Lossiemouth wanted the Beach Bar to come back’
Mr Fleming’s decision will be a blow to Lossiemouth and its tourist trade. The Beach Bar was hugely popular with generations of locals and visitors.
He said: “It’s still a piece of me and the feelings I had for the bar are hard to let go.
“I’ve just had to box them up and put them away.
“I find it hard to step back but lockdown completely changed things. Even the people I know who have built up a business for years and felt like they could weather any storm, they were not prepared for this.
“I feel sorry for those guys. If we had been at the stage where we were looking to build back our business but were then hit with these restrictions, we’d have entered into pure hell.”
Local councillor James Allan said the bar was especially popular with Germans visiting from Lossiemouth’s twin town of Hersbruck.
He said: “Everybody wanted it to come back. A lot of my German friends loved it, they always ask ‘when is it going to be rebuilt?’.
“A lot of people had been going there for years and years. There’s a lot of history and the closure has affected the town.”