Opium No-Ten, Barnsley: Popular Yorkshire indie bar to close after 13 years due to 'changes in drinking culture and lack of council support'
Opium-No Ten, on Peel Parade, announced the closure of the bar on social media, and accused Barnsley Council of a ‘lack of support and their intention to move all hospitality to the Glassworks’.
However, the council say it is supporting the night-time economy ‘as much as possible’.
In a statement, those behind the venue said: “Covid has crippled the hospitality industry, especially the late-night venues. Alongside the dramatic change in drinking culture.
“Also, we feel the need to highlight, adding to the struggle for independent nightlife businesses is the council’s lack of support and their intention to move all hospitality to the Glassworks.
“Offering unaffordable rent for an overpriced council property that only multimillion pound companies will ever be able to afford.
“We fully supported the positive changes to our town, but feel like it has had a detrimental effect on many local businesses with many forgotten.
“An example of this is the very first Christmas after Covid, a time when the local bars and restaurants should have been buzzing, all in desperate need of trade, Barnsley Council pulled trade away from the bars to Mandela Gardens where they had hired an out of town tipi company.
“Unfortunately, as is the case for many other businesses, particularly the small, although we hope we are wrong, we feel that recent events in the Glassworks are just the beginning.
“We have tried to stay afloat, we have given it our everything, but with mounting debts, the change in drinking culture and the lack of support from our local council, we have been left with no choice.”
The £210m Glassworks scheme faced delays and rising costs, opening on the site of the old market in 2021.
Barnsley Council said the scheme has been an ‘unrivalled success’, with six million visitors last year and footfall up 46 per cent as of December 2022, compared to the same month in the previous year.
Councillor Robin Franklin, cabinet spokesperson for regeneration and culture, said: “We’re saddened to hear about the closing of Opium-No Ten in Barnsley town centre. It’s a tough time for businesses and we are supporting our night-time and evening economy as much as possible.
“Through investment in significant regeneration over recent years, our vision for a modern, attractive, and safe town centre has become a reality. We’re seeing big increases in footfall across the wider town centre.
“For example, in quarter one of this year, footfall was up 47 per cent compared to 2021 on Cheapside, and the 2023 town centre events are currently seeing a 20 per cent increase in footfall compared to 2022.
“We’re proud of our night-time economy, and our town centre has been awarded Purple Flag status for four consecutive years. This means that it offers an entertaining, diverse, safe, and enjoyable night out.
“One of the reasons for this award is schemes supported by the council’s public health team such as Best Bar None and Ask for Angela.
“There’s also ongoing free support available from our experienced Enterprising Barnsley team. Businesses from start-ups to large enterprises can receive advice, training, and workshops to help them to thrive and grow.
“In addition to this, we support music festivals such as Barnsley Live which has a significantly positive impact on footfall across the town centre. For instance, this year, footfall increased by 51 per cent on The Victorian Arcade compared to the previous Saturday.”