THE landlord of one of Newport's longstanding social clubs has called time on the venue, blaming the economic effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Nick Portman has closed down Baneswell Social Club, on the corner of Havelock Street and Stow Hill, where he has been the leaseholder for the past seven years.

Mr Portman, 51, said he had made the decision with a heavy heart following four-and-a-half months of total lockdown for indoor pubs and clubs.

"It's been difficult for the self-employed, and I think a lot of small businesses are probably in the same predicament," Mr Portman told the Argus.

"I've been trying to avoid [shutting the club]," he added. "I've been working 15-16 hours a day, just to keep the place going.

"But a lot of the club's money is made through functions, and unfortunately we can't do those with social-distancing [rules]."

The economic hardships caused by the pandemic had followed personal tragedy for Mr Portman and everyone connected to the social club, he said, with some of the venue's loyal regulars dying of Covid-19.


Mr Portman said the past seven years at Baneswell Social Club had left him with fond memories, and in a message to his customers, he said: "I want to say a massive thank you for your support over the years.

"Through thick and thin, we've all stuck together, we've had fun, and good memories."

He said the venue's building would not reopen as a social club again, adding he expected the property to be converted into flats.

After Mr Portman announced the closure of the club on Facebook, he received dozens of messages from customers, past and present, reminiscing about their visits to the venue over the years.

The club had been home to weekly pool league matches, on Sundays; as well as darts nights twice a week.

Some people shared memories of their birthday parties, wedding receptions, and charity functions; and another customer wrote: "Another sad loss for Newport."

Mr Portman said he will continue in the hospitality trade with his other venture, the Scrum-tious Cafe and Sports Bar, located in the city's Charles Street.