14 photos of the opening of the Barracuda bar in Scunthorpe almost 15 years ago

The lost High Street bar has seen a few changes and renovations over the years, but it all started almost 15 years ago

It’s a distant memory now but, in a few months, it will be 15 years since Scunthorpe hosted the Barracuda bar in the town centre.

On December 13, 2007, the £900,000 development in the former QLM store on the High Street was the second new bar to hit the town in as many weeks after Bar Matrix arrived on Doncaster Road. Creating around 25 new jobs, the South African-themed venue opened with a special VIP party with guests entitled to free drinks for a few hours.

Afterwards, bar manager Paul Rafferty said: “Opening night was fantastic – we had very positive feedback from customers and they all seem delighted to have a high quality new venue in the city. We also have plasmas and a big screen for sports, so I think it’s going to offer something for everyone.

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“We serve food and drink all day so this will be a great place for coffee or lunch, as well as a great place to socialize on the weekends.”

Part of the Barracuda group, the pub was the chain’s 24th in the UK and early reviews were positive. Steve Atkinson, from Bootsford, said: “It’s really good and quite quirky actually. There really isn’t anything else like it in this part of town.

“I expected it to be more of a restaurant, but there’s a dance floor and everything. I’m really impressed.

Meanwhile, Sharon Ledgard, from Scunthorpe, said: “We were well looked after. The staff are really helpful and friendly, and there’s a lovely atmosphere. It’s comfortable and relaxed.”

Although Thursday’s opening night went well, the venue’s first weekend was marred by incidents requiring police intervention, after which the bar promised to take steps to tighten security.

After around three years, Barracuda closed to undergo an £85,000 overhaul, reopening in January 2011 as Abacus, which promised a “more balanced business” for customers, with the transformation taking place in a lighter direction and more family. That wasn’t the end of the changes, however, and in December 2013 it was confirmed that the venue’s lease had been purchased by new owners.

In October 2016, it was reported that there were plans to convert the premises into a nightclub, with lack of attendance causing the venue to close on Sundays. The following May, it was announced that the bar would be relaunched with a new operator as Rift & Co. However, this did not last long, closing at the end of 2018, leaving the premises vacant.

See photos from the days just before – and after – Barracuda opened in 2007 below…

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About James K. Bonnette

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