Setback for Boardwalk revival in Sheffield

The revival of The Boardwalk in Sheffield has hit a setback.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 11:42 am
Kate Major and Chris Bamford outside the Boardwalk which they are looking to revive. Picture: Andrew Roe

Chris Bamford and Kate Major left their respective pub management roles at The Shakespeare and The Three Tuns to bring back the Snig Hill venue as the Boardwalk Beer Hall.

The pair envisaged offering a bar with craft beers, a menu with ‘street food-style’ dishes and free live music ranging from blues to rock’n’roll and jazz.

In the longer term, there was an ambition to open up the cellar as Under the Boardwalk, a proper 200-capacity music venue, leaning towards alternative rock and indie.

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But now Chris and Kate have pulled out of the process of taking on the lease.

They made the decision after uncovering ‘a continuous stream of issues’ while laying the legal groundwork ahead of signing the contracts.

The main problem is understood to be the complicated ownership structure of the building and lease.

In a statement, Chris and Kate said they felt ‘great disappointment’.

“It is not a decision we have taken lightly, especially in the face of the overwhelming support and enthusiasm we have received but it is one, sadly, we feel is unavoidable.

“It follows a week of intense but ultimately futile negotiations.”

They said some of the issues appeared to be ‘irreconcilable with the slow speed in which the complicated process, involving several parties, has been moving forward’.

“Following our legal advice and with the support of friends, family and investors we cannot guarantee we have the resources to take on the Boardwalk in its current state, with the underlying risks we have uncovered, and be able to make it the success, experience, and destination it deserves to be.”

They added: “Both of us left jobs we very much enjoyed in two of Sheffield’s best pubs, and have invested in undertaking the mission of resurrecting one of Sheffield’s most iconic venues.”

Chris and Kate are looking for an alternative site. “We hope to realise our dream of bringing the best beer, spirits, tea and coffee, music, street food and more to a bar in Sheffield.”

The Boardwalk – formerly the Black Swan, known as the Mucky Duck – has been empty for much of the past six years, apart from a brief spell as gay club Fuel and Twist.

It helped to launch the careers of important acts from The Clash to the Arctic Monkeys.