COVID claims iconic Sydney live music venue

Sydney live music icon, The Lansdowne Hotel and an English pub that claims to be the oldest in Britain are the latest prolific venues to close down due to COVID-19.

The Lansdowne Hotel’s owners have announced plans to reopen and expand its hostel-style accommodation. The live music venue has been run by its parent company Mary’s Group, and the building owners since 2017 to bolster live music in Chippendale.

The three-storey pub has promoted Sydney bands for decades, been the local watering hole for uni students and inner-city pub-goers, and been the host to many late-night kick-ons.

An Instagram post last week saw the team at Mary’s announce the decision to close the pub and said that they were “heartbroken to announce that our time with the beloved Lansdowne Hotel is coming to an end.

“Our lease is due to expire in the coming months, and the landlords have chosen to close the gig room to build more hostel accommodation,” the post read.

“This was not part of our vision for the Lansdowne … we have decided to call time on our custodianship of this iconic live music venue.”

Despite ongoing COVID restrictions nearly decimating the live music industry in Sydney, the Lansdowne continued to host music on its bottom floor bar and the upstairs 300-capacity gig room several nights a week over the past few years.

The venue became “a bulwark against the tide of closures and a voice against the apathy that had snuck into the core of the conversations around our vital nighttime culture,” Mary’s Group wrote on Instagram.

Meanwhile, Britain’s self-proclaimed ‘oldest pub,’ Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans, which has been operating since 793CE, has also fallen victim to COVID-19.

Ye Olde Fighting Cocks closed its doors “after a sustained period of extremely challenging trading conditions,” according to a statement from landlord Christo Tofalli, posted on the pub’s Facebook page on Friday.

“Along with my team, I have tried everything to keep the pub going,” Tofalli wrote.

“However, the past two years have been unprecedented for the hospitality industry, and have defeated all of us who have been trying our hardest to ensure this multi-award-winning pub could continue trading into the future.”

Tofalli said that trading conditions before the pandemic, but once the pandemic hit the pub was struggling to stay afloat.

“It goes without saying I am heartbroken: this pub has been so much more than just a business to me, and I feel honoured to have played even a small part in its history,” Tofalli wrote.

Pubs in Britain have been struggling since before the pandemic as drinkers look for a change in scenery – venturing to bars, restaurants, or even drinking at home.

Featured image: Instagram/