A music venue which has given young musicians a chance to showcase their talent will be closing today, Saturday - as it prepares to move into the new market food hall.

Bar Four, located in The Vaults below Bolton’s Market Place shopping centre, has been run by Paul Welch.

Paul also ran V5 in The Vaults, which worked as the live music venue for Paul’s other company Rockit where he is the director, which gives opportunities to young people in music, fashion design, merchandising, and more.

But, like many businesses in the hospitality industry in recent years, the decision has been made to shut the site, which comes two days before its two-year anniversary, after struggling amid the cost of living crisis.

However, although the premises in The Vaults will be greatly missed, the business will be moving into the new market food hall, where it will continue their live music events.

'It's heartbreaking'

Paul, who also owns Bolton Gin Company, said: “We took Bar Four on to bring life to The Vaults, but we have been forced to close that.

“When Prezzo closed we saw a significant downturn, and we felt that we couldn’t sustain it.

The Bolton News: Paul Welch and Louise Horsman (second to last on the right) with their teamPaul Welch and Louise Horsman (second to last on the right) with their team (Image: Newsquest)Read our top stories below:

“We offered quality food, great products, including our gin, and live music.

“We have discovered some incredible bands.”

Paul says that there was simply not enough footfall, and manager Lisa Horsman says that they are devastated they had to make this decision.

She said: “It’s heartbreaking.

'It can't be replaced'

“We have carried on and tried to keep it open, but we were making a £3,000 loss a week.

“And we had a good month in February, but didn’t in January, so we just can’t do it anymore.

“We gave young talent a voice and a stage to perform.

The Bolton News: Staff, friends, and family say goodbye to Bar FourStaff, friends, and family say goodbye to Bar Four (Image: Public)“Unfortunately, we will look back and think ‘how did we let that go?’”

Paul added: “What we did creatively and socially can’t be replaced and it will be felt by other businesses.

“We feel for other businesses because everybody is struggling.

“I think we will see a lot more going, and it will work a lot differently, from opening hours to prices, and offerings.”

'We put our heart and soul into it, but it’s sad for the kids'

Paul and Lisa say that they still want to continue putting live music on the map in Bolton with their other venuesThe Ramp and The Loft, both in Horwich.

They hope to open in the new food market in May as part of the council's investment into the market.

Paul and his team will have a permanent bar alongside nine tasty food stalls. including Japanese, Caribbean, and Asian delicacies.

Paul said: “We are not giving up on Bolton.

“We have the other venues and are trying as much as we can.

The Bolton News: “We are going to try and bring the open mic night to the market on Fridays and Saturdays.

“We have serious artists playing at The Ramp.

“It’s just a shame we couldn’t keep Bar Four going because we needed to walk away.

“And we have walked away paying our bills at our own expense.”

Lisa added: “We put our heart and soul into it, but it’s sad for the kids and the people who just want to chat.

'We are family orientated'

“We got to know probably every person in here.

“We were able to allow kids in here because we are family orientated.

“If we didn’t have The Ramp this would be harder to let go because we wouldn’t have the music and be helping young talent.

The Bolton News: The last open mic night at Bar FourThe last open mic night at Bar Four (Image: Public)  “All the kids who felt that they don’t belong still have a place.”

The bar held its last open mic night on Thursday, March 28, which Will Edgar, aged just 15, who made his debut on The Voice Kids, ran.

Will said: “The open mic in Bar Four down in the Vaults has been an amazing event and has gone from strength to strength.

'The thing that Lisa and Paul did in Bar Four was unique'

“In the 18 open mics that we’ve had we have seen some absolutely phenomenal artists, comedians, poets and of course lots of musicians and singers.

“Some totally new to performing who have just grown in confidence.

“The thing that Lisa and Paul did in Bar Four was unique.

The Bolton News: Will Edgar performing at the last open mic night at Bar FourWill Edgar performing at the last open mic night at Bar Four (Image: Public)“They welcomed young talent to come along and show us what they had, and along with the more experienced talent, they had a platform to perform.

“It’s really sad that this won’t be there anymore.

“We’ve had bands made up of 10-year-olds rocking out to Guns and Roses, an eight-year-old boy singing oasis classic hits, an operatic singer, accordion player and many more artists who have been able to perform under no pressure and supported by the brilliant crowds.

“I’d like to thank every artist and supporter of the open mic and I’m sure we will see more open mics in Bolton and the surrounding areas moving forward.”

If you have a story and something you would like to highlight in the community, please email me at jasmine.jackson@newsquest.co.uk or DM me on Twitter @JournoJasmine.