Musician fears ‘overheads’ will hamper plans to revive Exmouth’s Famous Old Barrel
PUBLISHED: 13:00 30 November 2017
A prominent local musician has reacted positively to news that the Famous Old Barrel – Exmouth’s ‘iconic’ music venue – may re-open soon.
But he’s concerned that whoever takes on the Princes Street pub will find it hard to make it pay.
This week, Star Pubs and Bars – the pub business of Heineken UK, which owns the Barrel – confirmed the pub remains closed, but hopes it will re-open soon.
It also says the pub has the ‘potential to be a successful business’, and that support and capital investment are available.
Musician Richie Evans welcomed the news. He said: “It would be great if the Barrel re-opened and was re-established as a music venue.
“It’s a vital part of Exmouth’s music scene. It’s got the layout, the stage, a previous reputation and the good will of the Exmouth musical community.”
Richie – who’s appeared at the Barrel, fronting Souled, Chicken Slacks, and the All Star Rhythm and Blues Revue – praised the work of Lin Salter, the Barrel’s former general manager.
“She resurrected the Monday-night jam night, and it had become a real focal point for the musical community in Exmouth again.
“Lin was good at giving opportunities to people who had played on the Monday night to then gig at the Barrel. Lin deserves credit for what she tried to do.”
He said the pub had had numerous managements: “Nobody lasts terribly long at the Barrel; I don’t know what the deal is, and what people have to pay to breweries. That’s none of my business, but it does leave the feeling that there seems to be a pattern, where, from a musician’s perspective, you can never be sure how long the Barrel will run for.
“If it’s going to be re-opened as a music venue, whoever is going in has to be given the opportunity to develop it again. If you’re hamstrung by ridiculous overheads, then you can’t promote it as Exmouth’s number-one music venue when you’re constantly looking over your shoulder at the costs of trying to run it.”
A spokesperson for Star Pubs and Bars said: “The Famous Old Barrel has the potential to be a successful business for the right operator, particularly given the fact it is well established as a music venue in Exmouth. All new licensees go through a comprehensive vetting process, and once on board, receive ongoing business support, including training, business advice and capital investment.
“We are currently looking for new partners to run the pub, but will only reopen it when we find the right person.”