'Great news' for Luton's Bear Club as potential new buyer 'keen to keep' jazz venue

The prospective buyer is ‘Bear-friendly’, says owner
Band performing in The Bear Club. Picture: Neil SimmondsBand performing in The Bear Club. Picture: Neil Simmonds
Band performing in The Bear Club. Picture: Neil Simmonds

The owners of a jazz club in Luton say it could be saved by a potential new buyer, after months of uncertainty surrounding the future of the venue.

In January, The Bear Club, had been told that the premises’ freeholders intended to sell, putting the future of the club in jeopardy when it went on the market. Last month the future looked grim as the club gave an update about venue on Mill Yard, Guildford Street, explaining that the new owner wanted to buy the building under the condition that it would be vacant.

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But in an update at the weekend, co-owners Neil Simmonds and Giles Willits said that a different potential buyer had been found. Neil said: “They are very keen to keep us operating so they are going to give us a lease for the long term.”

The pair had previously been told that the Bear Club may not remain open after June, when its lease expires. While the sale has not been confirmed yet and there is no date for when the deal might be done, Neil hopes it is “a matter of weeks rather than months.”

When the Bear Club was at risk of closure, supporters met with the Neil and Giles to discuss a way of saving it. The pair had been looking at alternative venues, but are happy to have the chance to be able to stay.

Neil added: “It's great news for everybody loves the current venue, where people think of the Bear in its current environment. Everyone loves the vibe you get in that particular space.”

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