THE family who ran Warrington’s popular Showbar nightclub have spoken of their heartbreak at calling time at the venue which was a legacy to “King of Clubs” Paul Keepe.
Paul tragically died at the premises aged 61 with his wife Sally taking on the brave decision to carry on running the town centre premises with daughter Jenny.
But now the venue, the last of its kind in Warrington town centre, has become another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, with Sally and Jenny making the difficult decision to bring the curtain down.
Although they had pandemic insurance they had to fight a lengthy legal battle to receive a payout, which when it came was a one off.
Making the decision to close was made extra difficult as they had managed to secure a new investor just prior to the pandemic and were keen to support the town and keep Paul’s legacy going.
Jennifer, who has had her own health battles with a brain tumour, was just 17 when her dad Paul died suddenly at the premises from a heart attack. He was found dead in the office by Sally during the early hours.
Known as the “King of Clubs” Paul had previously run the Mississippi Show Bar and Secrets in Warrington, along with the Laughing Kookaburra in Northwich, Brooks in Preston and Talk of the Town, which later became Scandals in Newton-le-Willows.
“We had worked so hard to create the Showbar as a family so this is the end of an era,” said Sally.
Paul had built up his legacy with business partners Brendan Doyle and Richard Harley.
“We had to make the decision to close because we still don’t really know what is around the corner with COVID. It will be a shame to see the building empty.”
Once the former Palace Theatre, the building still has all the theatre seating in the upper circle.
“It will be a sad loss for the town centre because it was the only real nightclub left,” added Sally.
Meanwhile, Jenny, who is recovering from major surgery to remove a large brain tumour is set to become manager at PJ’s, just around the corner from Showbar.
She posted on social media: “I’m extremely saddened to announce that we have had to make the tough decision to close the doors permanently at Showbar owing to circumstances beyond our control it is not viable to continue.
“I have grown up in Showbar, starting work there in 2009 & have loved carrying on my dad’s legacy and I’m heartbroken to say the least.
“I have met some of the most wonderful people over these years & shared some of the best memories which I will never forget and I can’t thank the staff over the years for everything they helped us achieve to make it what it was!
“As most already know & the rumours are already going round anyway, I have now took on a new role as Manager of PJs Warrington & I’m Super excited to be joining the team and looking forward to what the future holds and I would love all your support!”
Meanwhile, now she is on the road to recovery Jenny has launched a fundraising page for The Brain Tumour Charity, the world’s leading brain tumour charity and the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally.
Committed to saving and improving lives, they are moving further, faster to help every single person affected by a brain tumour.
Donations can be made online via https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jenny-keepe1