Armagh’s famous Northern Bar – which was extensively damaged in an arson attack four years ago – is up for sale.
And the agent tasked with selling the Railway Street property is expecting a great interest from potential buyers.
Offers are being sought in the region of £325,000, with the agent saying the property offers an “excellent re-development opportunity” subject to the necessary planning approvals.
Last orders really have been well and truly called for the Northern Bar, which was a mainstay of the local music and social scene.
It was owned by the Hughes family and was the play to be during the 1980s and beyond.
The family were renowned for their support of the local music scene and many up-and-coming bands were given their first chance to play in front of an audience here.
Spread over three storeys, which also included an off-licence with separate access, the very top floor provided an intimate venue for bands to let their voices be heard; the days of real ska and rock will have left memories for many of a time that was, for many, much too fleeting.
Among those to lead the way was the late Tony Hughes, son of the owners who would manage the property and, along with sister, Jane, helped to forge an unrivalled reputation on the local entertainment scene.
The property had undergone several transitions over the years in terms of refurbishments and extensions to keep it fresh and popular within the local pub and club scene.
In its more recent days, it had been owned by Michael Hughes and it was he who was in charge when the unthinkable happened back in March 2019.
An overnight fire gutted the building and the sight of fire appliances battling the flames as they licked through the windows of the expansive site on a shocking Monday morning will stay with the many who passed by that day.
Mr Hughes, speaking later, said he hoped those responsible were caught for the “hurt and sadness they’ve caused” he and his family.
Around 30 firefighters spent most of the day dousing the flames, as police said they believed entry had been gained sometime in the early hours and the bar ransacked and set alight.
Now the famous grande dame of Armagh’s social scene is on the market, with CPS the agent tasked with the selling.
The agent has confirmed that planning permission had previously been given, in March 2002, for six apartments to be built in the rear yard.
In the sales publicity, CPS advises that the “entire site has also been reviewed in recent years for re-development potential for apartments”.
In terms of what any future buyer will be gaining, it is described thus: “No. 100 Railway Street comprises a three-storey derelict building circa 4,000 sq ft and a secure yard to the rear circa 7,000 sq ft; accessed via both Railway Street and Banbrook Hill.
“The building itself is subject to demolition, with a cleared site being circa 0.25 Acres offering re-development potential.”
In a caveat emptor, interested parties are urged to “carry out their own due diligence and seek advice for any potential statutory planning approvals”.