ACT News


Pub brawl: Duxton goes public on the end of All Bar Nun

They are sick of being known as ''the bastards who kicked out All Bar Nun'' and want to ''set the record straight''.

The controversy about the All Bar Nun issue reignited yesterday when the new owners of the building released a statement telling their side of the story, saying they had been subject to an ''undeserved backlash''.

And while all parties claim there is no animosity, there is still disagreement about how the events unfolded. The new owners of the replacement pub in O'Connor, Duxton, have denied All Bar Nun was evicted and its staff left in the cold.

They instead say the owners of All Bar Nun agreed to sell its assets to the new group months before the pub closed in late January but wanted the sale ''kept quiet'' to ''maintain trade and staff until the last minute''.

The owners of Duxton ''requested the opportunity to rehire staff that were interested in staying on, but were denied access''.

All Bar Nun had been offered a new lease in good faith but negotiations broke down over ''commercial terms'' including rent. Terms for a sale were then agreed to months before the closure.


''It wasn't an eviction. They didn't get two weeks' notice,'' one of the new owners said.

''It's fair to say whilst All Bar Nun, would have liked to have stayed, they couldn't reach commercial agreement with either the previous or the new landlords.

''I have nothing derogatory to say about the previous owners. But I think there's been some undeserved criticism and it's just continued and we couldn't comment because we were subject to confidentiality agreements.''

All Bar Nun owner Andrew Kenny said this week he and his business partners tried to negotiate a new lease until the 11th hour and their preference was to keep the pub a going concern rather than sell up.

''We tried upteen different kinds of formats to get a new lease but at the end of the day they weren't interested,'' Mr Kenny said.

''We had no options with the substantial amount of [refurbishment] works that were required immediately to be done to the place but to come to some sort of an agreement. They didn't buy the business, I'll be very clear on that. They bought the assets that were in the premises.''

Mr Kenny said access to staff was never discussed. He also denies All Bar Nun tried to keep the sale quiet, saying they were waiting for the other side to sign contracts. The new owners say the delays were caused by All Bar Nun.

Mr Kenny has explained the latest statement by the new owners as just a quest for ''self-promotion''. The timing of the statement by Duxton is curious, with the All Bar Nun closure revealed by The Canberra Times nearly three months ago.

At the time, the new owners of the building refused to comment.

However, the owner who spoke to The Canberra Times this week reiterated they had been subject to confidentiality agreements but now wanted to issue a statement because they were sick of being blamed for the demise of All Bar Nun.

''We have people that still come up to us and say, 'Oh, you're the bastards who kicked them out'. And to be honest, it's the furthest from the truth,'' he said.

The owners are still declining to be named publicly but through their public relations company issued a statement headlined ''Duxton: Open for Business and Not Speculation''.

It read:

''The terms of sale were agreed to many months before the reported 'fortnight of notice' was given to All Bar Nun''.

The owners of Duxton say they now want to move on.