Cocktail bar in Northampton shut because '˜managers were unable to contact landlords'
A successful Northampton cocktail bar closed because the landlords could not be contacted as the end of the lease approached, managers claim.
Hakamou Island Bar, in Wood Street, closed earlier this month to the surprise of customers, who believed it was as popular as ever.
Manager Martin Stephens has now said he and business partner Sam Dale had tried unsuccessfully to contact the landlords for 10 months to talk about extending the lease.
Days before they were due to close, a representative of the landlord called to talk about a short extension but it was too late.
Mr Stephens said: “We weren’t sure what they were going to do.
“Legally, you have to be ready to move out on the day the lease is up so you’re forced to prepare for that.
“We had to sell things off and let out staff go in the right way.
“If you are contacted so close to the time then any extension is untenable.”
He added: “It’s really sad because things were going well. It’s certainly left us scratching our heads.”
Hundreds of well wishers left messages on the bar’s Facebook page, many noting the particularly safe and fun atmosphere.
Mr Stephens said: “It’s always something we wanted to do.
“It’s a style of night we’d always enjoyed ourselves if we were out ourselves. That’s what we wanted to give the town.
“At first we had problems getting a DJ willing to play what we wanted but we believed people would love it and they did.
“We’ve had cracking fiftieth birthdays and cracking twenty firsts as well. Our favourites were the end of term when the teachers used to come in. It’s been a pleasure to see them.”
The bar is now stripped of its Hakamou livery - except for one thing associated with happy memories that Mr Stephens and Mr Dale wanted to leave.
Mr Stephens said: “If anyone wanted to go in there and have a new bar they could.
“The only thing that remains was our very first Christmas decoration.
“We never told anyone about it but, just inside the front door, we hung a lime covered in glitter from the ceiling.
“Nobody knew it was there but us. It’s always been very special to us and it’s the one thing we left in place.
“It’s a great shame it’s over, but there’s a great opportunity for someone to create some more good times.”
The landlords have been contacted for a comment through a third party.