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Business / From Flint’s to flats as Lerwick pub set to be turned into accommodation

Will it be closing time for Captain Flint's? Photo: Chris Cope/Shetland News

THERE is potential bad news for some of Lerwick’s pub-goers after it emerged that prominent bar Captain Flint’s could be shut down and transformed into rental accommodation.

The plans, from building owner Ian Cunynghame, would see three apartments and three self-contained en-suite bedrooms created in the two-storey building.

He is aiming to tap into the short-stay rental market as he looks to turn his back on the pub trade.

Plans were validated by Shetland Islands Council on Wednesday and they will need to secure approval before any work goes ahead.

The first floor, which features the main bar, would be turned into two one-bedroom flats.

Upstairs in the pool table room there would be another apartment as well as three self-contained rooms.

Flint’s is described as the UK’s “most northerly pirate themed pub” and it overlooks Victoria Pier – a potential draw for tourists who may end up staying in the accommodation if it gets the go-ahead.

It is open seven days a week and offers numerous TV screens which show sporting events.

The main floor also plays host to live music on a stage – and there are worries that the pub’s closure could have a negative impact on the local rock gig scene.

Rockers Forgotten Sons, for example, played at the pub last Friday, while there are a couple of gigs booked within the next five weeks.

Local musician Anthony Peart said that closing another live/rock type venue in such a central location would have a “huge impact on the future of rock music in Shetland”.

“Flint’s has always been a platform for young, up and coming bands to play some of their first gigs, as well as established bands to play in the centre of Lerwick,” he said.

“With the lack of local halls taking young bands and a lack of venues in Lerwick for such a talented island with a lot of up and coming bands this will have a detrimental effect on the future of alternative and rock music in Shetland.”

Flint’s was a cafe before becoming a pub, with planning approval secured in 1995 for changing its use to a lounge bar.

It would not be the first time in recent history a Lerwick pub or venue has been transformed into accommodation, with Mooney’s Wake and the North Star paving the way in the last decade for flats on Harbour Street.