Blackpool Walkabout re-opens after fire

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Building, Floor, Storey

The new first floor bar at the refurbished Walkabout venue
The new first floor bar at the refurbished Walkabout venue
The Walkabout bar in Blackpool city-centre has re-opened after it was destroyed by a fire earlier this year.

The venue has undergone a £3million redevelopment, and now boasts new bars, a new menu and an outdoor balcony overlooking the town.

The re-opening on Thursday – which made sales of nearly £20,000 - reunited the 18-strong Walkabout team, who worked in local bars or other Walkabout venues during the development work.

It has also created 43 new roles due to bigger bars, a revised menu requiring more kitchen staff and a forecasted growth in business due to the refurbishment.

Refurbishment

The ground floor ‘Reef Bar’ features screens projecting under-sea footage to give the impression of a Great Barrier Reef-like “underwater paradise”, while an additional bar features a wall filled with authentic Australian beers.

The first floor has been redesigned to host the venue’s regular club and party nights and a new mezzanine level houses a large dance floor with state-of-the-art sound and lighting and exclusive seating areas. Seating can also be reserved in front of giant plasma screens for live sport.

Fire

A large fire broke out at the venue on Queen Street at around 5:30am on 19 June 2013, which was believed to have started in the flat above, causing the building’s roof to collapse.

Dave Daly, manager of the Castle Hotel and north-west chairman of Licensees Unite, told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​ the venue’s closure caused an “immense rift” in the town and he is delighted it has reopened.

'Asset to Blackpool'

“We all suffered because locals and holiday-makers love going to the venue. It’s a really iconic site and it shut at such a critical time.

“Until a venue closes you forget that a group of pubs run on a circuit; we all depend on each other. And the biggest ship in our circuit was Walkabout.

“I’m so pleased it has re-opened. It is an asset to Blackpool and they have done a magnificent, beautiful job.”

John Leslie, chief executive of Walkabout owner Intertain, said: “It’s been a tough few months, but I’m thrilled we’ve been able to reopen the venue as quickly as we have. This is testimony to the hard work and superb spirit of the whole team, of whom we are immensely proud.

“This refurbishment will see Walkabout reclaim its title as Blackpool’s number one spot for parties, great food and live sport.”

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