‘We had no warning’: Peterborough bar owner tells of shock as landlord locks him out

Covid restrictions and lockdowns have been blamed for the financial problems which saw a Peterborough city centre bar close at the weekend.

By Brad Barnes
Monday, 28th March 2022, 4:58 pm
Updated Monday, 28th March 2022, 5:38 pm
John Walker at the opening of Coyotes Bar and Grill
John Walker at the opening of Coyotes Bar and Grill

John Walker, owner of Coyotes Bar and Grill in Northminster, was barred from entering the premises on Saturday after a debt collection agency posted a forfeiture of lease notice in the window on behalf of the building owner.

“We didn’t know what they were going to do as they had given us no prior warning,” said a saddened John, who opened the American diner-style venue in September 2020 - and kept it going to considerable cost to himself.

“I am not saying we did not have issues, we have,” he admitted. “Cashflow was always going to be an issue, trying to pick up all the debts that occurred during covid, which I have been clearing off slowly but surely.

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“Now I will just have to wait and see what the landlord says about me getting in the building to get my stock out (it was all set up for a gig on Saturday night) and the fixtures and fittings to sell off then I can pay some of what is owed.”

The bar, which has been repossessed, opened during the pandemic - and has been at the heart of the financial problems from day one.

“All the way through I sold property and backed it up with loans out of my own pocket - I even deferred my own retirement which was due in May to help alleviate the situation,”added John.

“I carried on working and every penny I earned was put in to pay staff wages. Covid hit us as soon as we opened and I couldn’t put staff on furlough so I had to pay them what they were owed for the November.

“It was just one thing after another.

“But I took the business on knowing what it could be and still believe it could be.

“People said to me ‘why don’t you just let it go’ but I was committed to it, and the people in there, and I was committed to what we had got, what we had seen and what it could be.

“I have put in an awful lot and got to a trading position where we could make money and this all happens.”

However, John does not believe the premises - which for many years was Halo and before that The Bar - will be stand empty.

“I do no think it will be long before someone takes the place on as it is there ready for them,” he said. “But Peterborough has lost a live music venue that we struggled to get people to support because of the stop and start through Covid.”