By Andrew Starke

The Hopetoun Hotel in Surry Hills has closed its doors amid speculation it will be sold, triggering an online campaign to save the iconic music venue.

The pub did not open on Monday afternoon (Sep 28) with a handwritten note on the door stating that the venue was closed until further notice.

The popular venue is known to have had ongoing disputes with both local council and police.

It has also been speculated that there is tension between co-owners Evangelos Patakas, his sister Anastasia and her husband, Paul McCarthy, the venue manager, while online discussion groups allege financial problems are behind the closure.

The hotel did not return calls or respond to messages left by TheShout.

Patakas told the Sydney Morning Herald that an accumulation of fines from police and onerous council directives to upgrade the venue were behind the closure but said it would reopen next year.

However a spokesperson for the City of Sydney Council said there were no current directives for an upgrade.

Meanwhile, music fan Matthew Vierboom has started a "Save the Hopetoun Hotel" group on the social networking Facebook.

At 3pm today (Sep 30) nearly 9,000 fans of the venue had joined the group.

“As this group is already showing, there is an immense amount of love for the Hopetoun from all over Sydney and beyond,” said the group’s introduction.

“Let’s try to channel it into something practical and effective rather than finger pointing. Who is to blame is not important. What is important is making sure the Hopetoun can survive as a live music venue.”

Another post on the site is said to be from City of Sydney CEO, Monica Barone.

“The City understands that NSW Police, not Council, recently issued a $3000 penalty infringement notice to the Hopetoun for failure to provide adequate security personnel in accordance with their development consent. This is a requirement of the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing.

"The decision to close the Hopetoun appears to have been made by hotel management. The City has not issued any order for the premises to close.

“The City has been working cooperatively with the licensee of the Hopetoun for the past few months to allow them to keep trading while maintaining public safety , and will continue to work with the licensee to resolve safety issues concerning CCTV security and structural deficiencies."

The popular live music venue has been a staple of the Sydney independent music scene for years, with bands performing seven nights a week.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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