Ipswich: University’s Kai Bar to close after failing to turn a profit
14:00 28 November 2012
UNIVERSITY Campus Suffolk’s student hub Kai Bar & Bistro is set to close next month after posting “significant losses” since it opened two years ago.
The bar and restaurant, based at the £21million James Hehir building on the Waterfront and run by the students’ union at UCS, will close its doors on December 22.
Matthew Ensor, chief executive of the union, said: “UCS Union has faced challenging trading conditions in operating Kai for the last two years, leading to Kai posting significant losses in every year of operation.
“It is clear the trends that underpin these financial challenges are continuing and UCS Union has taken the difficult decision to close Kai.”
He said the union would work with UCS to “establish an alternative, viable use for Kai that benefits students and their developing needs”.
Joseph Mitchell, 21, a second-year history student at UCS, said: “No one is surprised it’s closing down. When you walk past every night it’s virtually empty.
“They have dug their own grave because of the cuts they’ve made.
“They took away Sky Sports so no one goes in on a Sunday any more. I drink ale but they’ve stopped serving that. The food quality isn’t great too.
“People are going elsewhere because it’s cheaper. It’s a downward cycle they can’t get out of.
“I’m a little sad it’s closing. It’ll be weird not having your own place to go to. We still need somewhere to have our socials.
“But everyone’s fear is that it will become privately owned and someone will come in and make it a fancy wine bar or something.
“We don’t want that. Hopefully it will remain in the hands of the university.”
Claire McAndrew, 23, a third-year sociology and youth studies student, added: “If it was more fun and welcoming I would have gone more. It is not particular inviting. There is no atmosphere.
“If it was made into a coffee shop with comfy sofas and a nice lounge area that would help.”
Eighteen staff work at the 300-capacity venue, which also hosts live music. Mr Ensor said a consultation process had begun with the workers.
SoapBox Seasonal Antidote will be the last gig at Kai Bar & Bistro on December 13.