A HARD Rock Café-style venue with live music is being proposed to transform an iconic Southend pub.

Keith Gannon, owner of Essex Recording Studios, is hoping to takeover The Railway Hotel on Clifftown Road after it was forced to close following the Covid pandemic. 

Collapsing under “the weight of unbearable pressures and almost un-tradable circumstances”, the business - arguably one of Southend's most famous pubs - closed it's doors in April.

Hoping to draw punters back inside the once-thriving venue's walls, bold ideas touted by Mr Gannon include putting up famous music memorabilia alongside an impressive guitar collection on display throughout the building.

While Heineken's Star Pubs & Bars, who own the site, say they are "working to find a suitable operator to take it forward".

Mr Gannon said: "We want to transform the space into a Victorian Hard Rock Café, which would have a world class music venue upstairs with the very best sound equipment in the world.

"The plan would be to make it a national stop. There is incredible musical heritage in Southend, particularly at places like The Kursaal - some of the most famous bands that have come out of this country have performed there.

"We've got the airport, the train station nearby and links to London, and so we want to make it a national music venue."

Read more:

Southend's most famous pub closes doors for good after Covid pandemic blow

Mr Gannon says a star-studded line up is already waiting to use the venue and perform in the space, although proposals have not been given the go-ahead by Heineken.

He continued: "This is something I've been fighting for, I've done everything to show them the place can be more than a pub.

"We've had some huge acts ready to shoot music videos here and perform, with the financing also in place ready to go.

"We've got people like X Factor winner Matt Terry working at the studio who said they would come in, Charlotte Awbery who has been on Ellen and Naomi Banks whose music has just been on Love Island."

A spokesperson from Heineken's Star Pubs & Bars, said: “The Railway Hotel, Southend is currently leased to an independent operator who advised us they have closed the pub and wish to surrender their lease.

“We are unable to discuss future plans for this iconic music venue until the current operator has fully vacated the premises. The Railway Hotel has lots of potential. We are keen to reopen it as quickly as possible and are working to find a suitable operator to take it forward."