The former tenants of an award winning music pub have blamed high beer costs and the impact of the smoking ban for driving them out.
Terry and Pam Kent left The Springhead, in Hull, on March 5 after running the venue for more than 17 years.
"We have lost everything in the pub," said Terry. "With the overheads and everything, it just got ridiculous. Even though people said they were all going to come out when the smoking stopped, nobody came out after that.
"The neighbours came round to say it's like the heart being ripped out of the community."
The couple have received hundreds of cards, emails and bunches of flowers from well wishers as far a field as Australia .
"We had a really big send off," he added, "In the last week the bands played for free for us and really showed their appreciation. We've collected a lot of friends."
He added that they are keen to re-enter the trade but this time as managers.
However the show will go on at the Marston's owned pub with local company Winking Beaver taking over the lease.
Andy Joplin and Ian Pawson, who run the company, presented the Kents with a lifetime free pass for the venue. They said they were un-phased by the difficulties the previous tenants had run into.
"It's a cracking opportunity that can only get better. I think you've got to diversify and look at things a little bit differently, which is what we are going to try and do but keep the live music going," said Ian.
The pair plan to turn the pub's fortunes around by hosting open mic nights, live stand-up, extend the food offering and opening the pub in the daytime.