Blackpool’s most quirky bars and restaurants for a memorable night out

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Inspirations for the themes include horror, steam punk, circus, Lemmy, David Bowie and more

 

Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy's Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy’s Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool (Image: Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool)

Bar hopping in Blackpool is a fun and unique experience as the town has its own identity unlike anywhere else in the country.

Established as a well-loved tourist destination, Blackpool is not only known for its commercial attractions but also its independent entertainment and creativity.

As host to a well-established DIY music scene, the town is brimming with music-inspired bars and venues as well being home to many gay bars, alternative bars and even adult bars.

Blackpool is definitely a place where people can feel at home to express their true identity which is shown through its myriad of local businesses.

Here at LancsLive, we took a look at some of Blackpool most characterful bars and cafes that can be appreciated by everyone.

The Crypt – Horror-themed tea room

Nosferatu and Frankenstein chilling in the Crypt, Blackpool
Nosferatu and Frankenstein chilling in the Crypt, Blackpool
  • Birley Street

Lurking amidst the retail shops on Birley Street lies the UK’s only horror-themed tea room

The Crypt is a hangout for horror lovers and people who love the spooky season all year round.

The walls are dripping with horror movie props, merchandise and memorabilia.

Customers are welcomed by plethora of monsters and mad men such as Freddie Krueger, Jason Voorhees, Dracula and Frankenstein.

The premises also sells Halloween homeware, movie memorabilia and alternative/gothic clothing.

Crypt keeper and owner Kurt ‘Dirt’ Walsh has just announced an expansion which will include the unit next door.

This means the current premises promises to be a bigger and better alternative clothing horror merch store whilst next door will be the “Scream & Shake” horror cafe, bar and live music and performance venue.

For updates and to find out more about the Crypt, please visit the Facebook page here.

Marley’s Rum Bar – Caribbean-themed Rum bar

Inside Marley's Rum bar on North Promenade, Blackpool
Inside Marley’s Rum bar on North Promenade, Blackpool (Image: Marley’s Rum bar)
  • North Promenade

Popular Blackpool DJ Jason Fubar has spent quite a bit of time in the Caribbean and ploughed in his life-savings to create the wonderfully-themed Marley’s rum bar.

A fan of the genre, Jason originally wanted his first bar to be reggae-themed.

Deciding that was too niche however, he decided to make it themed around the Caribbean and named it after one of his all time music heroes, Bob Marley.

Lockdown provided Jason and his team a chance to concentrate on the bar’s colourful and tropical interior right down to the authentic Caribbean parasols they had shipped in.

Marley’s brings to its customers the finest selection of rums from around the world as well as cocktails and a whole range of non-rum based alcoholic drinks.

The karaoke room can be hired out and there are plans to have plenty of live DJs, bands and singers in the future.

To find out more, please visit the Marley’s Rum Facebook page here.

Vintro Lounge – Fun-fair-themed diner

Vintro Lounge in Church Street, Blackpool
Vintro Lounge in Church Street, Blackpool (Image: Blackpool Council)
  • Church Street

This amazing circus-themed restaurant has only just opened this month in what used to be Pizza Express opposite the main entrance to the Winter Gardens.

Doors to the new St John’s Square diner officially opened on Wednesday (June 9), with company Loungers behind the eatery.

An amazing level of detail has gone into the traditional fun fair and circus theme including traditional circus posters, Victorian lighting, and vintage seats.

As for the menu, among the offerings are brunch, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, tapas, and other mains.

The diner also has board games for big and small guests, toys for the little ones and even refreshment for its canine guests.

To find out more, please visit the Lounge’s website here.

Captain Jack’s – Pirate-themed Bar and Grill

Captain Jack's Bar and Grill, part of Coral Island, in Blackpool
Captain Jack’s Bar and Grill, part of Coral Island, in Blackpool (Image: Right Move)
  • Central Promenade

Not only is this Blackpool bar and grill themed, but it also has a story behind it.

Apparently, whilst sailing the seven seas, Captain Jack was caught in a ferocious storm that sent his ship crashing into the rocks off Coral Island.

Stranded with nothing but the remains of his beloved galleon, Captain Jack began building this bar and grill selling dishes discovered on his voyages.

You can even meet the man himself outside his grill at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm, or roaming Coral Island with his loot bag of chocolate coins.

The restaurant is famous for its double dipped, extra wide, pork ribs and stacker-burgers layered with fresh ingredients and toppings.

It is open for business beside the Blackpool Promenade doors in Coral Island.

Sporting a stunning old worldly interior, the nautical themed restaurant is sure to impress people of all ages.

To find out more about Captain Jack’s at Coral Island, please visit the website here.

Ziggy’s cafe bar – David Bowie-themed tea room

Ziggy's Cafe bar on Cedar Square, Blackpool
Ziggy’s Cafe bar on Cedar Square, Blackpool (Image: Ziggy’s Cafe bar)
  • Cedar Square

This cafe oozes cult cool and is inspired by non another than David Bowie.

The family-run business is named after the thin white duke’s glam alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

Tables are daubed with Aladdin Sane lightning bolts, Bowie artwork and signed photographs from the man himself.

The cafe’s distinctive ‘Ziggy’s’ sign was actually stolen in 2019.

It has since been replaced however and continues to be a beacon for Bowie fans.

To find out more, please visit the Ziggy’s Facebook page here.

The Yellow Submarine – Beatles-themed live music venue

Abbey Road entrance to Yellow Submarine pub on South Shore in Blackpool
Abbey Road entrance to Yellow Submarine pub on South Shore in Blackpool (Image: Yellow Submarine pub)
  • Rigby Road

The Yellow Submarine on Rigby Road is the perfect night out for avid Beatles fans and those who love the ’60s.

The Fab Four-inspired bar has a fabulous Abbey Road-themed entrance which has made many an Instagrammable picture.

The bar owned by Crazy Scot’s Bar owner Hamish Howitt has live music every single weekend taking customers back in time to one of the most iconic eras in music.

One review called it the “best Beatles-themed venue they’ve ever been to” with many others echoing the same sentiment.

Not only fantastic to look at but it also has a great selection of cocktails, beers and non-alcoholic drinks.

Music-lovers can also enjoy Scotties Sports Karaoke Bar next door which welcomes both sports fans and karaoke lovers.

To find out more, please visit the Yellow Submarine website here.

Lemmy’s Bar at Waterloo music bar

Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy's Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool
Amazing lockdown transformation at Lemmy’s Bar in Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool (Image: Waterloo Music Bar, Blackpool)
  • Waterloo Road

This infamous Blackpool venue proudly houses the only Motorhead-themed bar in the UK too after staff built “Lemmy’s bar” – which is a bar within the bar – around two years ago.

Dedicated to the frontman’s first band, Blackpool-based, the Rockin’ Vickers, the bar has been added to by Owner Ian Fletcher’s friend, who was actually in the band.

He has donated much memorabilia including frontman Lemmy’s cowboy boots.

The bar’s fridges are also stocked with Cameron Brewery’s Motorhead ‘Road Crew’ beers and upon re-opening after Covid-restrictions in May, it launched a brand new Motorhead Bomber Stout.

Lockdown really afforded staff time to to put into an already fantastic decor of drum kits in the toilet, motorbikes on the ceiling and a plethora of instruments on the walls.

A disused fireplace that was blocked up with bricks now has an epic Motorhead’s War Pig logo painted on the inside.

To find out more about Waterloo Music Bar, please visit the Facebook page here.

Viva Vegas Diner – American style diner

  • The Promenade
50s car style booth at American Diner-themed Viva Vegas Diner and Bar, Blackpool
50s car style booth at American Diner-themed Viva Vegas Diner and Bar, Blackpool (Image: Viva Vegas Diner and Bar,)

Described as “one of the best places to eat in Blackpool” the Viva Vegas Diner and Bar is located within the Viva Blackpool complex on the heart of Blackpool Promenade.

Based on the retro feel of the classic 50s diner with a modern twist, the diner extends the ‘Vegas’ theme from its huge entertainment venue and looks like something straight out of a Tarantino film.

The menu offers plenty of favourite American diner classics including burgers, hot dogs, fries, milkshakes, beers and cocktails.

Customers can book a 50s Chevrolet booth and watch live entertainment on the big screen or enjoy sports on the big screen.

To find out more, please visit the Viva Vegas Diner website here.

Cogs Cafe – Steampunk-themed cafe

The bar in 'steam punk' themed cafe bar Cogs, Blackpool
The bar in ‘steam punk’ themed cafe bar Cogs, Blackpool
  • Lytham Road

One the most unique establishments in Blackpool, the owners of this cafe really got their cogs turning when they decided to give them premises a steampunk makeover complete with chains and cogs.

Inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery, the retrofuturistic subgenre of science fiction incorporates technology with Victorian aesthetics.

That is why Cogs is decked out with antique wood, brass and boiler-plate and members of staff can be spotted wearing the genre’s staple top hat with goggles.

Many venues have taken inspiration from Steampunk however few have been able to represent the gothic subculture authentically, which isn’t the case at Cogs cafe.

Not only does it have great aesthetics but its menu also offers breakfasts that are to die for along with the freshly baked cakes and coffee.

To find out more about Cogs Cafe, please visit the Facebook page here.

Wild West Diner – Western-themed bar and grill

Wild West Diner in Blackpool complete with cowboy
Wild West Diner in Blackpool complete with cowboy (Image: Wild West Diner)
  • Palentine Building Promenade

This authentically themed wild west diner has become a favourite in Blackpool.

The all American restaurant is decked out like a Western Saloon with a cowhide bar, leather booth and ram skulls that look down from the walls.

The setting wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood gun-slinging shoot out or bar room brawl.

Cowboys and cowgirls can get their pictures taken at the venue complete with cowboy hats and the hashtag #WWBPOOL.

Customers can order the finest steaks, burgers and ribs including the grill’s favourite Cowboy breakfast.

To find out more, please visit the Wild West Diner Facebook page here.

Paradise Coast – Hawaiian tiki-themed cocktail bar

Paradise Coast in Blackpool
Paradise Coast in Blackpool (Image: Paradise Coast in Blackpool)
  • Back Church Street

Hawaiian shirts are optional when you visit Paradise Coast however we fell you should embrace the theme fully.

Described as “Pretty f***in tiki” and “slinging tacos and cocktails”, it couldn’t be more accurate.

Opened in October 2020, Blackpool’s first tiki bar is the second child of Dirty Blondes creator, Jake Whittington, who has also just launched the town’s smallest wine bar called Nooke Wine bar.

Located above Dirty Blondes on Church Street, the bar has a cool pink and blue aesthetic and is a marriage of tiki, rum, and beach bum themes.

The bar serves fresh and lively cocktails and Caribbean-inspired small dishes, the likes of which Blackpool had yet to experience.

To find out more, please visit the Paradise Coast Facebook page here.

 

Man jumps 400ft off crane in Blackpool on back of a blow-up unicorn

Blackpool AirGamez are coming to a close today but there have been some spectacular sights

 

Not something you see every day at Blackpool beach
Not something you see every day at Blackpool beach (Image: Bpl Bible/LancsLive)

Blackpool’s AirgameZ are in their final day, with hundreds of daredevils turning out to launch themselves off a 400ft crane with nothing but a parachute.

Widely considered to be the most dangerous extreme sport in the world, the basejumping event in Blackpool is the only UK competition of its kind.

Taking place on Blackpool Promenade from Friday (July 2) to today (July 4), the giant crane has been addition to the resort’s already fascinating skyline.

The crane, which is erected for the competition, is almost twice the height of the infamous Big One rollercoaster which stands at 235ft.

Each jumper taking part has used their skills and experience to land on a target placed on the beach, all competing to be AirgameZ Champion 2021.

But one in particular stood out over the course of the 48 hours.

Blackpool AirgameZ this weekend
Blackpool AirgameZ this weekend (Image: Bpl Bible/LancsLive)

Amid the head first jumps and the tandem jumps, one brave individual decided to take their flight on the back of a unicorn.

Majestically hurling themselves off the platform on the inflatable, the free faller deployed their parachute and managed to land, still sat on the float.

We know who our winner is.

The event is organised by Blackpool-based Julian Deplidge, 40, who has come second in the World Base Jumping Championships in Spain.

Julian had made over 1,000 jumps across 36 countries including Ukraine, Beirut, America, France, Spain, China and Finland in some of the most picturesque locations on earth.

One of the jumpers at Blackpool AirgameZ takes a head first dive
One of the jumpers at Blackpool AirgameZ takes a head first dive (Image: Bpl Bible/ LancsLive)

Blackpool, he states however, is one of the best locations in the world to hold the extreme event – but as the organiser he has not competed in AirgameZ himself.

He told LancsLive: “I’m local to the area which obviously makes things easier in terms of organising however there’s a lot more cost to stage the event in Blackpool.

“It actually costs us around £8000 more to have it here as opposed to a field somewhere in another city which it may be cheaper.

“Blackpool has beautiful headlands however that are perhaps underused and I think in terms of events and attractions there’s a lot of reliance on the Pleasure Beach and the Tower, so it’s great to use the beach itself.

An amazing sight to behold on Blackpool beach
An amazing sight to behold on Blackpool beach (Image: Bpl Bible/LancsLive)

“There’s nice soft sand to land on and plenty of places for people to watch from. You can see the crane from around 20 miles away and it looks spectacular as it towers above the Big One.

“”It’s not quite as big as Blackpool Tower but perhaps one day the council will let us jump off there! Visit Blackpool and the council have been really supportive along with a local company called KRS (Knight Ringing Services) and NMT cranes.”

This year is a little less competitive than other AirgameZ competitions due to travel restrictions on competitors coming in however jumpers will still be assessed on the quality of their falls.

Having an incredibly small window, the daredevils have one and a half seconds to deploy their parachute before the ground ensuring they’re not too early and not too late.

Points are also deducted for too much flailing and accuracy for falling within the five meter marker on the ground is rewarded.

 

How Blackpool could look in 2030 with exciting projects on horizon

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool is set to change dramatically by the time the £300m rated Blackpool Central entertainment complex opens its doors to the public

 

An artist's impression of Blackpool Central's 'heritage quarter'
An artist’s impression of Blackpool Central’s ‘heritage quarter’

By the end of the decade, Blackpool should be home to an extra £75million of annual spend and 1,000 new jobs thanks to the town’s looming £300million rated entertainment complex.

Dubbed Blackpool Central, the attraction is estimated to bring an extra 600,000 people to the seaside resort every single year.

Nikal Ltd and Media Invest Entertainment are behind the plans, working closely with Blackpool Council to make their ambitions a reality.

With a completion date of 2030 on the cards, the complex is expected to be home to major live events, a hotel, restaurants, leisure facilities, hospitality venues, and three entertainment centres.

“We have taken a major step towards creating one of the UK’s most exciting destinations with this application submission,” Norbert Reichart, chief executive of Media Invest Entertainment, said.

“The scheme has a crucial role to play in enhancing Blackpool’s tourism offer and attracting more visitors to the town, and we have been spurred on by the strong show of support for our plans.

“The consultation has also given us lots of food for thought for how we shape the future phases of Blackpool Central and maximise its pulling power.”

Lynn Williams, Blackpool Council leader, said the complex is “vitally important” to creating new jobs and boosting town tourism and the local economy.

But how might Blackpool look by the time the complex is built?

We’re still nine years away from seeing Blackpool Central in all its true glory – and it certainly isn’t the only thing planned for the town in that time.

With that in mind, LancsLive has looked at the many ways Blackpool is set to change up until 2030. The list is not exhaustive but merely an indication of what we can expect:

Less congestion

Work has started on the new M55 Heyhouses Link Road
Work has started on the new M55 Heyhouses Link Road (Image: Tim Bradley Photography / Lancashire County Council)

It is hoped a new £27million M55 link road to Lytham St Annes will see less traffic backing up as people head into Blackpool.

Dubbed the M55 Heyshoues Link Road, it is expected to be open to traffic in early 2024.

Lancashire County Council says it will relieve congestion on smaller roads on the Fylde coast and promote business and housing in the area.

County Councillor Charlie Edwards, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I know that residents and businesses have been anticipating this moment for many years, and I’m very pleased to be able to say that we’re getting on with delivering those better journey times and reduced congestion which the link road will bring.

Kristian Marsh, Highways England’s route manager for the M55, said the link road will “see a reduction in congestion locally, improve access and provide better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists”.

As well as this, the Preston Western Distributor will open in 2023 linking the M55 with southern Fylde and Preston in a move that will free up roads around Blackpool and the Fylde coast.

Talbot Gateway masterplan

What the Holiday Inn as part of the Talbot Gateway masterplan is set to look like
What the Holiday Inn as part of the Talbot Gateway masterplan is set to look like (Image: Blackpool Council)

Blackpool said goodbye to Wilkos and its neighbouring car park in September 2020 as part of the ongoing Talbot Gateway masterplan.

With demolition work complete, June 2021 saw steel framework erected for a new 4 star Holiday Inn on the same site.

A Marco Pierre White restaurant is also set for the same location with a modern underpass under construction linking to Blackpool North railway station.

The restaurant – run by Black and White Hospitality – will be Marco’s New York Italian, reflecting the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple as well as Marco’s passion for classic, simple, authentic food.

Nick Taplin, Chairman and CEO of Black and White Hospitality said: “This New York Italian is perfect for Blackpool.

“It represents friendly, casual dining and will give locals and visitors a great new place to go out and eat. It’s not pretentious, it’s just good food, served in a great environment.”

From Monday, July 5 High Street will be closed for 26 weeks to allow the underpass works to be carried out.

The site is set to be finished by the summer of 2022.

Andrew Robb, Chief Business Development Officer at hotel management company RBH, said: “It has been great to work with the team at Blackpool Council over the past few years, seeing first-hand the passion and dedication they have for their town.

“As the flagship commercial development for Blackpool, Holiday Inn will form the centrepiece of the Talbot Gateway development’s second phase, transforming an important gateway to the town.

“We are delighted to be working with our partners at IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) on this project and can’t wait to get started.”

A better looking town centre

A revamped Samaritans in Topping Street, Blackpool
A revamped Samaritans in Topping Street, Blackpool (Image: Blackpool Council)

Blackpool Council has already been giving shops in the town a facelift through its Quality Corridors project.

A total of £7.84m has been set aside to make the town’s shop fronts look more appealing.

So far, Church Street, Talbot Road, Dickson Road, Cookson Street and Bispham Village have all been visited.

Tree planting, public art, fresh street furniture and resurfacing footpaths and roads have also been included in the scheme.

The work is set to finish in 2021, meaning the impact should already have been seen in many areas of the town.

Levelling Up Fund

View of Blackpool including Winter Gardens and Houndshill Shopping Centre
View of Blackpool including Winter Gardens and Houndshill Shopping Centre (Image: Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Blackpool Council has bid for £20million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

If successful, money would be spent on investment including in the Winter Gardens and former Abingdon Street Post Office.

The money would also go towards easing congestion and improving the public realm between the Winter Gardens, the Houndshill extension and Blackpool Central.

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton has welcomed the bid but called for areas outside of the town centre to also be included in the spending.

“As far as I’m concerned, the obvious place in need of capital spending on regeneration is South Shore, and specifically Bond Street/Waterloo Road,” Mr Benton said.

“I live not far from this area and regularly use the shops and facilities there.

“The decline in the area over many decades has been noticeable and it’s in urgent need of investment.”

Higher costs for those without electric cars

An electric car being charged
An electric car being charged

Plans are in place to create an ultra-low emissions zone in Blackpool town centre.

The Blackpool Climate Assembly is calling on Blackpool Council to bring this in by 2027; and in doing so charge vehicles that aren’t electric for access.

Coun Gary Coleman said it is a “very difficult balancing act” with the council hesitant to “put people off by them thinking Blackpool’s got this charge now so I’m not going to go to Blackpool”.

Scott Butterfield, strategy policy and research manager at the council, has said such zones will work in some places in Blackpool but that further investigation is needed before any plans can be brought in.

North West’s largest IMAX screen

A CGI of a multi-functional auditorium
A CGI of a multi-functional auditorium

A unique multimedia IMAX cinema is being built in the Houndshill Shopping Centre as part of a new entertainment centre with eight other cinema screens and conference rooms.

A total of 850 seats will be available at the venue.

The work at the Tower Street site is due to be completed by Spring 2022 and is set to create 30 full time jobs.

The IMAX screen will be the largest in the North West, with council leader Lynn Williams confidence the site can be a success.

“We are delighted that all parties are now on board and we can move forward to an early start onsite date, bringing new jobs and opportunities,” she said.

Ticketless buses
Blackpool's sole surviving No. 346 last carried passengers in 1974
Blackpool’s sole surviving No. 346 last carried passengers in 1974 (Image: Fylde Transport Trust)

A £550,000 loan has been granted to Blackpool Transport from the council to help fund a new contactless ticketing system.

The technology has been fitted on all Blackpool Transport’s fleet of around 115 buses with plans to install it on the trams this summer.

There is also a ‘Tap & Go’ facility, similar to London’s Oyster card, whereby people tap their card or contactless device when boarding, tap with the same device when exiting, and they will be automatically charged the correct fare for their journey.

Flooding

Climate Central forecasts for Lancashire by 2050
Climate Central forecasts for Lancashire by 2050

Rising sea levels are set to cause huge damage to Blackpool and the wider Fylde coast.

Rising temperatures are causing loss of sea ice, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heat waves, and shifts in plant and animal habitats

Climate Central, a non-profit news organisation focused on climate science, has revealed the severity of this threat locally.

By 2050, areas of Blackpool, Lytham, Fleetwood and Morecambe could be underwater, with damage expected to be seen by 2030.

Most of the area south of Central Pier could be lost by 2050 including Pleasure Beach and Blackpool Airport.

Inland areas including Common Edge, South Shore, Little Marton, Marton Fold and Squires Gate would also be impact along with parts of Blackpool & Fylde Industrial Estate, Blackpool Zoo and Marton Mere Local Nature Reserve.

Blackpool’s first museum

Stan Laurel bowler hat signed to Cyril Critchlow in 1947 courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Trust
Stan Laurel bowler hat signed to Cyril Critchlow in 1947 courtesy of the Blackpool Museum Trust (Image: Blackpool Museum Trust)

Blackpool is readying for its first ever museum celebrating the town’s history.

The £13million project will be feature permanent displays in a public museum on circus, magic, variety, and ballroom dance.

Moe than 800 objects from Blackpool’s extensive collections will be on show along with items loaned from national partners including the Victoria and Albert Museum.

It is set to open in 2022 on Blackpool’s famous Golden Mile in the Sands Building, next to the Tower.

 

One of Blackpool’s best known independent fashion shop owners says retail needs a radical rethink in town centre

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Retail in Blackpool needs a major re-think to keep shops on some of the resort’s streets, says one of the town’s leading independents.

 

The doors are set to close at designer clothing store Blueberries on Topping Street next month after 37 years of keeping the fashion-conscious looking smart.

Sarah McConville, who owned the shop with her mum Joan Kershaw, said the repeated bouts of roadworks in the town, combined with a lack of cheap parking and a change in people’s shopping habits, meant that the business was no longer able to continue.

Sarah said her mum’s declining health and the catastrophic drop in the number of people going into town during the coronavirus lockdowns finally made up her mind that the time was right to take a step back.

Sarah McConville is set to close the doors on her designer clothes shop Blueberries in topping Street in AugustSarah McConville is set to close the doors on her designer clothes shop Blueberries in topping Street in August

The shop was founded by Joan Kershaw in 1984 and was originally in Grosvenor Street before growth prompted a move to Cedar Square and then the three storey building it currently occupies in Topping Street.

But now the building is being advertised for lease with hopes that it might become a restaurant.

Sarah said the high street had become a difficult place to trade on and that Blueberries online sales had kept the Topping Street shop afloat for many years.

She said: “We are all very sad to have to shut our doors, but this is the time.

Jessica Coop, Sarah McConville and Michelle Dickinson inside Blueberries. Sarah says changing shopping habits, repeated road works in town and lask of footfall due to Covid have hit the businessJessica Coop, Sarah McConville and Michelle Dickinson inside Blueberries. Sarah says changing shopping habits, repeated road works in town and lask of footfall due to Covid have hit the business

“We have had so many lovely messages from customers since we announced the closure and I would like to thank all the customers for their support.

“One of the important reasons for Blueberries’ success over 37 years is the absolutely amazing staff we have had, many who have worked for us for years and the present manager Michelle Dickinson has been with us for over 17 years.

“I don’t think there are many independent businesses that will have done as long as we have in the town centre.”

But she said the number of shoppers in Topping Street had plunged in recent years.

Sarah McConville owner , centre, Michelle Dickinson right, store manager and Jessica Coop, left, store assistant outside Blueberries in Topping StreetSarah McConville owner , centre, Michelle Dickinson right, store manager and Jessica Coop, left, store assistant outside Blueberries in Topping Street

She said: “There is just not enough footfall for a business like ours in Blackpool any more.

“Ever since Topping Street lost its on street parking and they put a bus route down the road, things changed. That was the death knell.

“We started our online business which helped us stay in the town centre for years, but now we find with Debenhams closing the good retail outlets in the town centre are few.

“When we moved on to Topping Street 20 years ago we were told that it would be made a great place for independents, but that never happened. Yes there had been work to improve the town done, but what that meant was when lockdown was eased we still could not open because the roads were closed for such long periods of time.

“We suffered with so many road closures over the years for various reasons.

“It is not just because of the lockdowns. What Covid has done has highlighted the deprivation here and the town is not as attractive to locals anymore.

“Both myself and my mother who is a partner in the business have been big advocates for Blackpool over the years.

“When we started 37 years ago, we were instrumental in bringing all the big names to Blackpool, Helmut Lang, Paul Smith, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace.

“All our customers who used to come into Blackpool, from Lytham and St Annes, Cleveleys, all around the Fylde etc, don’t come into the town centre anymore.

“It is difficult to negotiate, the parking is too expensive. Nothing has been done to make the town attractive to the local people and that’s very sad.

“They are digging up the road again on Talbot Road at the end of Topping Street. We have been told some of Topping is going to be redone because of problems with the buses navigating down here.

“With all the recent road works retail businesses did not get any financial aid at all from the council.

“After lockdown eased things just didn’t improve at all.

“We might have a lot of visitors coming to the Promenade and attractions but Blackpool’s town’s people are not back shopping in the centre, because there’s not as much to come shopping for. Something needs to be done for the future, there needs to be new plan.”

She said because of the type of exclusivity contracts with the top designer labels, it meant it was not possible to easily move the business to another Fylde area and could not just make it an online business with out having a physical shop.

“My mum Joan who has been in the business for 37 years has now got Alzheimers. She was working right up until lockdown, even with her condition.

“It has been her absolute life and passion, serving customers and looking after them. Now because of the virus, she can’t be in a position of coming back to the shop.

She said that the heydays of the shop were in the 80s and 90s when Blackpool was noted by its popular nightclub scene which attracted people from all over the North West as well as Fylde locals. She said: “We have had so many comments about how Blueberries was important in their growing up, teenage years.

“Blackpool had a massive club scene, everyone used to come and buy their Patrick Cox shoes and going out gear.

“Everyone went out two or three times a week and people used to get dressed up to go out. People don’t do that anymore, times have changed.

“We have three generations of families who have shopped with us, we have been here so long!”

She said the building was now up for lease and Blueberries is running a closing down sale.

She added: “Topping Street was always a good eating area and so maybe it can become a restaurant quarter in the future and this building would made a fantastic restaurant. We are running a sale on throughout July and anticipate we will be closing in August.

“We are just incredibly sad to have to close, but the saddest thing is Blackpool town centre. Something radically needs to be done regarding the retail here.”

Coun Mark Smith, Blackpool Council Cabinet Member for Business, Enterprise and Job Creation, said: “Pandemic lockdowns and tier restrictions over the past 15 months have had a significant impact on the retail economy across the UK.

“Some of the roadworks in the town centre are directly linked to improvements in the street scene in areas such as Topping Street where there has been a significant investment in new shop fronts and public space.

“Council parking fees have been frozen since 2017 and we do offer discounts to help stimulate town centre footfall at key trading periods.”