Pub regulars launch £100,000 bid to buy Kirkcaldy’s historic Harbour Bar

Regulars at a landmark Kirkcaldy pub have launched a campaign to take it over.

Thursday, 29th July 2021, 5:00 am
Harbour Bar, Kirkcaldy with the name of the late owner Nick Bromfield above the door (Pic: Cath Ruane)

They want to raise at least £100,000 to refurbish the Harbour Bar, and keep it open as a community enterprise.

The move follows the death of long-standing owner and landlord, Nick Bromfield, who established its reputation for real ales and craft beers.

It was his aim to create a village pub in the town, and now his regulars have joined forces in a bid to keep the doors open.

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Harbour Bar, Kirkcaldy, which has been a pub since 1924 (Pic: Cath Ruane)

The campaign has the backing of Nick’s wife, Gillie.

Kirkcaldy’s only dedicated real ale pub has been operating since 1924, but the building has a long history - it was previously a ship's chandlers and dates to around 1870.

The “Hands Up To Save The Harbour Bar” group has held two meetings to outline its plans, and now it wants people to pledge their support to raise the six-figure sum.

If successful, the bar - which has its final day of trading this Sunday - would be run as a Community Benefit Society (Bencom).

Harbour Bar, Kirkcaldy - signage outside the historic pub (Pic: Cath Ruane)

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A Community Share Scheme would be established that could accept loans from members which are paid back at an agreed time and with fixed interest, registered with and governed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The campaign is also open to people who simply want to make a donation.- or even buy shares in the new venture.

A spokesman for the group said: “We’re especially keen to seek support from those who love the pub and want to preserve its position as the village pub of Kirkcaldy, whether that is by becoming a member, offering support to the work of the steering group, making a donation or providing a sum as a loan.”

The regulars are committed to building on Nick’s ethos of a village pub.

Under his ownership, the Harbour Bar was named the Scottish CAMRA pub of the year, was runner-up in the UK competition, and won the Fife regional award for several consecutive years.

He introduced many real ales and craft beers, and had his own microbrewery on the premises - the Fyfe Brewing Company, which was housed in the old sail works behind the venue, was the first time beer had been brewed commercially in the Kingdom since 1926.

The bar, which has been referenced in novels by Fife writers Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, also had its own distinct style, with pages from a broadsheet newspaper pinned up every morning above the gents’ urinal.

The regulars have pledged the venue would be in safe hands if their campaign succeeds.

A spokesman said: “The Harbour Bar’s community has many of the necessary skills learned in other environments to run the business successfully.

“Some have considerable hands-on experience of running bars and others have run businesses.

“Many have worked in local and central government at a management level and some have craft and technical skills.

“Some have research, marketing, legal and accountancy skills and collectively, these skills will be brought together and utilised to support and manage a community buy out.”

Anyone interested in buying shares or making a donation can email the group at [email protected]

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