End comes for popular AL's Bar

20:31, Aug 14 2011

Christchurch music venue AL's Bar will not reopen.

Owner Al Park said yesterday that after months of hoping his bar would return after the February 22 earthquake, all hope had been dashed.

"I've been hanging on for five months thinking it would all work out. It's come as something of a blow," Park said.

Park leased the Dundas St site from property developer Richard Peebles.

Park said structural engineers had told him the damage was limited to one wall that could be repaired, but the decision had been made to demolish.

"At the end of the day it's up to him [Peebles] what he does with it and that is what he has chosen to do," Park said.

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"I've spent a few days trying to come to terms with it after having had my hopes up for so long."

Peebles said yesterday that AL's Bar "would be demolished any day".

He said he had received a 10-day "dangerous building" notice from the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

He said the building had to come down because of complications with neighbouring buildings.

"The Wraggs building, next door to AL's Bar, and much older, was on the same title as AL's Bar.

"We were hoping to repair AL's Bar and reopen it, but we didn't realise it shared walls with the Wraggs building and another one behind it."

Since opening in 2006, the venue had played host to a range of acts.

Park said they had "had some great nights ... really special, whether it was an indie act, a metal act or whatever; whether they were playing to 80 people or 300".

International acts had included Hugh Cornwall from the Stranglers, Kitty, Daisy and Lewis, Lloyd Cole, UK Subs, The Vibrators, Justin Townes-Earle, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Paul Dianno, a former member of Iron Maiden.

Park had many fond memories of both good and bad performances at the venue.

"It's all I have left of it now," he said.

The final show was American act The Melvins who performed on February 21 before travelling to Tokyo and being caught up in the Japanese earthquake.

"The Melvins were a great last act.

"On the night I remember thinking they were going to be a hard act to follow.

"It was truer than I imagined."

Park said he was unsure if he would open another venue.

The Press