IT’S business as usual for a music and entertainment venue in Eastney despite a ‘for sale’ board going up outside.
Enterprise Inns is selling off the Eastney Cellars because the pub does not make enough money.
The fear has been that the venue would be sold off and the land used to build flats, rather than a buyer coming in to take the pub on as it is.
The News previously reported that there had been a buyer standing by to take the pub on, but the deal is still yet to be done.
Steve Pitt, who was manager but is now in charge of promotions at the venue, said: ‘Unfortunately Enterprise say they want to get the maximum money for the Cellars.
‘The current tenants want to move the sale forward, to keep going as we are, and for me to do all the programming of acts and events.
‘We’re just hoping it won’t be turned into flats.’
Mr Pitt fears a developer may come along, despite the pub’s high sale price, and still attempt to build on the site.
‘Hopefully it just won’t happen,’ he added.
The venue is now focusing on developing an entertainment programme that draws the crowds and helps the pub’s chances of surviving as it is.
Mr Pitt said: ‘That’s the best way for the venue to survive.
‘The current operators are only interested in if they can pay the bills, and to do that they need to sell pints to people who come to gigs here.
‘It very much needs to still operate as a successful business.
‘The good news is that that’s exactly what has been happening.
‘We’re chock-a-block full until August, with really only a few Mondays free at the moment.
‘Attendances are also better than they were this time last year, which is really good news for us.’
Mr Pitt said Portsmouth’s younger music lovers are also embracing the venue and putting on gigs of their own there.
‘That’s the whole point of running a community music venue, that the community comes and runs events themselves.’
Acts which will be appearing at the Eastney Cellars include John Cooper Clarke, Mungo Jerry, James Walker and Starsailor.
To find out more, see thecellars.co.uk.