A FAILING pub which became a Liverpool success story will close for good at the end of this month after its owners were made "an offer that couldn't be refused".
It will leave its landlady without a home or job and another seven staff out of work.
The Caledonia, on Catharine Street, was shortlisted for Live Music venue of the year at the 2012 Liverpool Music Awards and has become the home of Liverpool's vibrant Americana and bluegrass scene.
The Caledonia has continuously operated as a public house since 1837 and sits next to the controversial Philharmonic Court scheme being built by Preston developer Marcus Worthington. Five outdated student blocks are to be replaced by two linked buildings of up to six floors and 21 Georgian terraces are to be made available for private ownership.
Many local residents have opposed the scheme on the basis that it would house undergraduates, rather than the post-graduates and student nurses who had lived in the existing block. There have been fears among families who have made their homes on Catharine Street that this transient community would create a nuisance.
Last night in the bustling pub, where regulars were still unaware of the new bombshell, Ms King, 28, told Liverpool Confidential how she had built the business up from nothing three years ago, into one of the most successful community pubs in the city.
“We will closing the pub for good on the exact third anniversary of the day I took it over. We should have been celebrating but instead I can't stop crying,” she said.
“When I took over, the place was full of drug takers and scallies. Nobody was buying any drinks. I immediately threw them all out.
“All that was here was the bar. I went out and bought all the fixtures and fittings myself.
"I knew nothing then about how hard it would be. I've worked day and night, with loyal staff, to turn it into a safe, warm environment with traditional pub values. We welcome everyone from young people and families to 80-year-olds and orchestra players.”
Filling up with tears again, Miss King went on: “This has come as a huge shock. People come up to me in the street and say 'thank you', and 'well done'. Along with the customers and the scores of musicians who play here, we have achieved so much. I won't go corporate bashing, that's for other people to do, but I am completely gutted. It's not just me without a home, it's a community.”
Miss King said she did not think the new owners intended to reopen the premises as a pub because they had not asked to see her accounts. Rather, she thought “it would be the sort of place Starbucks might look at.”
Marcus Worthington declined to comment.
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