Last orders at famous Glasgow bar

A FAMOUS Glasgow pub has been forced to close after mounting bills saw it being powered by a diesel generator for the last six months.

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Time has been called on the Old College Bar
Time has been called on the Old College Bar

Time has finally been called at the Old College Bar, which marketed itself as the oldest pub in the city, after the licence holder was left with a bill that would need to be paid to supplier E.ON before it reconnected it to the mains supply.

The bar was disconnected in March after bills went unpaid, leaving pub staff with no choice but to power the place using a diesel generator to avoid shutting up shop.

The building, at 219 High Street, is owned by Colin Beattie - the man who runs Oran Mor and 23 other pubs in and around Glasgow.

He said: "The Old College Bar has closed and the main reason for that is that the people who were running it had not paid some bills.

"It was being powered by diesel, using a generator, for the last six months.

"I only discovered that a few weeks ago when I went to assess damage caused by the stormy weather.

"The electricity bill had not been paid for a while and it would have cost thousands to get the pub reconnected.

"It's no secret that the people running the pub were hanging on by a thread for quite some time anyway, and this didn't help."

Parts of the building which houses the bar were built as far back as 1515, according a plaque above the door which reads: "Glasgow's oldest public house. Ancient staging post and hostelry."

The pub takes it name from the days when the orginal Glasgow University was still based in High Street.

As revealed in the Evening Times, Mr Beattie's company Bishop Loch (Grey-friars) Limited has submitted a planning application with Glasgow City Council to demolish the bar.

He explained that he hopes to rebuild it on the same site as part of a High Street redevelopment.

The planning application includes a proposal to demolish the bar as well as the neighbouring F W Holroyd Art Gallery, The Country Shop Butcher and food outlets China Express, Street Cafe and Hot Peppers.

Mr Beattie is in negotiations to purchase the other properties.

The Old College Bar also ran into trouble as recently as October, when itwas ordered to pay £10,000 to Sky TV after illegally screening sports matches.

The bar had been showing Sky Sports without an appropriate license.

Mr Beattie added: "I have instructed my solicitors to have the Old College Bar's licence put into my company's name.

"Nothing will happen until after the New Year, but I would like to get it opened again if at all possible.

"But I have to decide whether it is financially worthwhile to open it when, within a few months, we could be demolishing it to press ahead with the redevelopment plans."

Electricity supplier E.ON described the pub's debt as "considerable".

A spokeswoman said: "The Old College Bar was disconnected on 27 March due to non-payment and a considerable debt remains on the account.

"We'd urge the company to contact us directly so that the matter can be resolved."

stef.lach@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Food and drink

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