Fortitude Valley live-music icon The Zoo has announced it will close in July. And music fans, it gets worse – sister bar Stranded is also closing, and will call last drinks on Monday May 6.

In a statement on Instagram, management cited rising operational costs, cost-of-living pressures and a “mix of lifestyle changes” among punters as the reason behind the closures, despite record high ticket sales last year.

“The hard truth is that we’ve been running at a loss for over three years. Despite exploring every avenue available to us, we could not secure the level of support needed to surmount the continued financial strain.”

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“I never bought The Zoo to make money,” current owner Shane Chidgzey tells Broadsheet. “But I just can’t get to a point where we’re kicking the can down the road – which is kind of what we’re doing at the moment.”

Chidgzey cites industry struggles post-Covid, as well as the impact of inflation and the return of big touring acts to Australia, which sucks oxygen from smaller venues during a cost-of-living crisis, when punters have less money to spend elsewhere.

“The big issue is cost of living,” Chidgzey says. “It’s stretching everybody …. This past last financial year, we only had maybe 60 per cent of the revenue from the previous year. That’s really, really hurt us.”

Founded in 1992 by Joc Curran and C Smith, The Zoo is widely regarded as one of the country’s finest live-music venues. Australian music royalty – including Brisbane heroes Powderfinger, Regurgitator and the John Steel Singers – cut their teeth on its hallowed stage.

Chidgzey is urging punters to act, in order to curb what’s fast becoming a nationwide trend.

“We encourage you to advocate for live music, to implore our government and music bodies to do everything they can to prevent more venues from closing their doors due to the industry-wide financial pressure that is decimating venues across the country.”

The venue has plans to go out with a bang – and if you’ve got tickets to anything after the closing date of July 8, The Zoo will be in touch.