The Polar Bear is a 200 capacity Independent Live Music Venue located in Hull, England. Since 1895 we have regularly put on touring acts, comedians, club and tribute nights. The Polar Bear, originally moved in 1860 from across the road to its present location, has been a historic and popular presence in Hull’s community for decades. In a past life The Polar Bear was known as Carlton House and stood a little further east, next door to Hull’s very own zoo. A listed building, of particular note is the gorgeous Edwardian interior, featuring flourishes of art deco style that are to be found in both the glass dome, the semi-circular seating and the ceramic bar (which is one of only 10 left in England).
A solid fixture for the locals, the premises featured a smoking room and resident pianist (the current managers Great Grandfather). The piano is still on the premises, although it does require a little tuning. The Polar Bear has been many things: a local pub, a trendy bar, a place for punks to gather, and now the live music venue we all know and love.
Not gonna lie, we miss all of you beautiful people. From the people who come in every week to just play pool in a pool room that is probably too small, to the students who are ever so polite. We miss the end of the night when there’s those absolute heroes demanding one more song (there will never be one more song ((well maybe when we reopen)) and we miss the people who sit in the smoking area all night (you know who you are).
Most of all, we miss being part of the community. The past year has sped along incredibly fast for us and, having had some time to reflect has really driven home just how important The Polar Bear is to all of us that work there and how our lives are not quite the same without all of you here with us. We hope that our absence is making you all feel fonder. We can’t wait to reopen again. We’ve big plans.
But at this moment in time, our venue is one of hundreds currently at risk of permanent closure because of the effects of Covid-19. Because of this we can no longer operate until that lockdown is lifted. While we have moved our entire Spring program into the Autumn there is still a lot of uncertainty around when lockdown will be lifted, what that will mean for us and if we will make it that far. We anticipate and accept that our sector will be one of the last to reopen but this will sadly put a significant amount of financial strain and pressure on the building.
Like so many other small, independent businesses, we now face an unpredictable and potentially very grave future and we need your help.
To combat this we are now part of a national initiative launched by Music Venue Trust, to prevent the closure of hundreds of independent music venues. Your donations will be used to fill the shortfall between the government grants, the staff furlough scheme, and our actual monthly outgoings when closed. We would also like to support some of the freelance staff who fall between the cracks of government help.
How can you help save The Polar Bear?
Any amount you can spare, the cost of a gig ticket or a pint in the city centre, will go directly towards keeping the venue alive until we can reopen.
We are a large, complex building with considerable fixed costs which remain the same whether we are open or closed. Your donations will be used to keep the building running, the lights on and pay the salaries of the non-furloughed staff and security team while we have no income. So that once we reopen, we can get back to the business of showcasing a brilliant programme of music, performance, art and events in the second half of 2020 and beyond!
Put simply: without support and action during these times, The Polar Bear will NOT survive and its staff will be placed in a vulnerable financial position.
At this point, while we understand that so many others are facing similarly uncertain times, we are encouraging everyone in the community and beyond who is able to and and wants to play a part in safeguarding the future of The Polar Bear, to please donate generously to this fund.
In return we will be offering Polar Bear merch and other incentives for larger donations, should you have the means to help.
If we hit our target, and we can prevent the closure of our venue, everything above the amount we need will be donated to the Music Venue Trust GMV Crisis Fund to protect other venues just like ours, right across the country.
Any support during this difficult time will be greatly appreciated. We will keep you all informed of any changes to our plan, but for now we hope that you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy. Yours and of course our staff’s safety is absolutely paramount to us.
Stay sane, stay safe, Team Bear x