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Future of Swansea's No Sign Wine Bar is secure despite collapse of firm

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 29, 2012

By Rupert Hall

No Sign
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A SWANSEA bar boss says the future of his venue is secure despite its management company collapsing owing £320,000.

Mark Hartson has run the No Sign Wine Bar on Wind Street for eight years but the company he set up to manage the business has now gone into liquidation with liabilities including £135,000 in VAT and £73,000 in PAYE.

However, Mr Hartson says the future of the business is secure as the company which owns the venue and several others in South Wales is trading well.

Alchemy Pub Company owns No Sign, The Grand Hotel in Port Talbot and Giovanni's restaurant in Chepstow and is considering the possibility of launching a third outlet close to Wind Street in units at Salubrious Court.

Cardiff-based insolvency practitioner Jones Giles is now handling the liquidation of No Sign Wine Bar Ltd and confirmed the Alchemy Pub Company is the lease holder on the premises.

Mr Hartson said No Sign is now being run by another of his businesses known as 5 Leisure.

He added: "The Alchemy pub group employs more than 100 people locally.

"We've got the Grand Hotel in Port Talbot which was closed.

"I stopped using No Sign Wine Bar Ltd three months ago."

Mr Hartson said No Sign is not able to survive on its own and needs other businesses in his group to support it.

He said: "Our expansion is to try and support No Sign.

"No Sign won't stand alone on its own two feet.

"As we speak it is quite apparent No Sign needs protection.

"All my suppliers will be paid."

Mr Hartson said bars on Wind Street were suffering from a double onslaught of high rents and competition from an increasing number of customers choosing to spend their Friday nights in Uplands.

He added: "I think Wind Street needs pedestrianising to get more people in in the day time.

"We have got a good strong food trade but that would increase with pedestrianisation."

News of the financial difficulties facing No Sign comes as Yates's on the corner of Wind Street and Caer Street is preparing to re-open tomorrow night after a two-week facelift costing in the region of £170,000.

The former La Tasca restaurant on Wind Street which closed after its parent company claimed it was no longer financially viable has also been re-opened by independent outfit The Smoke Haus.

Steak house Chaplins has also expanded from its original first floor venue on the opposite side of the street into the ground floor site formerly run as Bar 22.

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