Monday, 21 May 2007

Saving the Rotterdam bar. Saving Belfast

The Rotterdam

Earlier this month Belfast's Rotterdam Bar was shut for the last time. It's to be knocked down to make way for apartments. This is an absolute travesty. In the rush to rebuild Belfast, after 30 plus years of blowing things up and the subsequent lack of development that followed, it seems that nothing can be allowed to stand in the way of "progress". It's not just The Rott, as it was known, Pat's bar too will be swept aside to make way for luxury apartments. Got to be honest with you Belfast needs more luxury apartments like it needs more rain. These luxury apartments that are going up everywhere are rarely owner occupied. They are bought up by developers and leased out for ridiculous amounts thus excluding all but the very well heeled.

Pats Bar

Of course there is a campaign to Save The Rotterdam. All too little too late. The Rotterdam's a goner and there is no turning back. Money talks and that's that. When I first heard about the campaign to save the Rotterdam I was more than a bit cynical. Lets be honest would the owners of the building really be swayed by online petitions and what they would view as "the lamenting voices of hippy types" when millions of pounds were at stake? I don't think so. But that's still no reason not to voice our objections. They need to be made aware that people are fucked off by this. Fucked off by this in the worst way.

Belfast does need lot's and lot's of regeneration and investment. But this is no reason to rip out it's heart and soul. Sympathetic building and design can add to an area without losing it's history and character. At the current rate of development Belfast will soon become just another homogenised lump. No different from any other town or city. There is no doubt in my mind that Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole will develop and succeed on the back of growing tourist industry. But if the developers are allowed to carry on with ridiculous plans like these then tourist guides will be reduced to spending their day saying "so and so used to here, and so and so used to be there".

Why is the Rotterdam important and what makes it worth saving I hear you ask? The Rott is situated in the Sailortown area of Belfast. It is said to be 180 years old. It was used to hold convicts before their eventual deportation to Australia. The chains used to hold them where still on site. It was an Irish bar without the Oirish thing going on. It was also a vibrant and important music venue. It was a bar of unique character and charm that set it above the theme/style bars that now clutter Belfast.

In our race to re-develop Belfast and remove the depression of 30+ years of carnage we shouldn't throw out all the things that make Belfast unique and different. It's too late to save the Rotterdam and Pat's bar but we can still tell them how we feel. And when they rebuild and re-open them I wont be darkening their doors. Mark my words there will be bikes and fake hams hanging from the ceilings. Cuntish, soulless Bastards.

Save The Rotterdam Bar myspace site.

Online Petition

FastFude message board discussion

I'm off to smack a PETA member. Is this the most sensible post I've done yet? Normal order to be resumed shortly.

12 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Little Miss Manuel said...

OOOH get you! All worked up there my love? You had better have calmed your angry jets by the time you take me out tonight. Silly moo

Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

That's sad, right enough. You would think they'd keep these places around so people can rediscover the proper Belfast and regain civic pride in their hometown and its rich history - if there was ever a city that needed to restore it's own sense of itself after all its troubles, it's Belfast. History is a great way of doing that - it gives you a stake in your city if it means more to you than just a bunch of executive flop-pads. It's too bad they'd get rid of a piece of old city history like that.

ellie said...

Well said that man! There are so many changes to the Belfast I grew up in, the approach to town from the East of the city is lined with souless apartments that are obviously owned by business. The Kitchen Bar went the same way

Medbh said...

Great post, Manuel. You nailed that one. Belfast is going to get sanitized by all the capital and investors there already pricing people out of the housing market and tearing down all the great little spots.
I'm afraid that when I get to go again I won't even recognize the place.

Old Knudsen said...

Who the fuck goes to Sailortown to drink? never mind that who would go there unless they were on a bus driving through?

Conortje said...

Seems like the planning laws are messed up all over Ireland. I am going to show my support by going to an actual bar in Rotterdam this evening!

toast said...

Have i been in the rott? i cannae mind.... Where did Alice Donut play?

are these my feet?

Anonymous said...

dear manuel garcon,

i have a very big problem in the shape of an elephant. perhaps you can offer me some admice? it is my boyfriend. he loves me. he loves me not! i think it is my ARUGULA AND SPINACH SALAD WITH PROSCIUTTO AND CREAMY MANGO DRESSING. My prosciutto is too salty. he tells me this every time, but i keep trying. also, my mangoes are frozen.

but i digest. this is clearly a broken-hearted moment for me. i want him to want to eat my food. but how?

Manuel said...

LMM: Yes dear

Sam, Ellie, Medbh: Yup! It's mental is what it is is what it is. And no one in power seems to stand in their way, in fact they seem to bend over and take it for the developers.

Old K: What are you implying?

Conortje: Keep up the fight, thats the spirit

toast: not sure, i'm thinking The Front Page

Manuel said...

Dear anon: Not me mate, not me. Tell it to my special love Little Miss Manuel. She can help. I care only for my own problems of which there are many

Anonymous said...

im visiting your toon soon can anyone tell me if the rotterdam and pats bar are actually closed doon, if so can anyone tell me if the dead handsomes still play in any bars in belfast or even maybe some of the adventures members like pat gribben, terry sharpe etc.
thank you and all the best tae yae all.

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