According to the Courier, Webb sold the still-trading Lefty’s to former employee Joy Redmond shortly before appointing administrators to his company Majid Pty Ltd on October 31. In a report to Majid creditors obtained by the paper, Webb pinned the company’s troubles on Queensland’s deeply unpopular ID scanning laws.
“Mr Webb advised that these laws had the effect of increasing costs for equipment and security staff, as well as significantly impacting customer numbers and thus revenue,’’ administrator Michael Dullaway said in the report.
Webb was uncontactable by phone today but was unsparing in his criticism of ID scanners in an October interview with Broadsheet. “It’s terrible. It’s terrible. And it’s taken 20 per cent off our revenue,” he said. “It’s killed Caxton Street, it’s killed our late-night economy. Two years ago, it was thriving on Friday and Saturday nights. Now The Caxton, [strip club] Honeybees and us are the only places open, so it’s a bit lonely.”
Webb has been a high-profile critic of the scanners since their introduction in mid-2017, saying they have “ravaged” Brisbane’s late-night bar trade.
“I was going out in Brisbane in the mid-to-late ’80s and it was an awful place to go out then. Nothing to do,” Webb said. “All these great venues have opened up but now they’re all going to start closing … The Valley isn’t anything like it used to be. The CBD: [weekend] nights are great, the rest of the week, not so much. It feels like we’re reverting back to the uncool Brisbane we once were. I don’t say that lightly.”
According to the Courier, Dullaway’s report also attributed financial support Majid gave to Paddington bar Hope and Anchor and Lefty’s neighbour Seymour’s Cocktails and Oysters as another reason for its troubles. Hope and Anchor was sold as a going concern in March. Seymour’s Cocktails and Oysters reportedly closed in late October.
The future of the award-winning Lefty’s looks secure for now in Joy Redmond’s hands, but the closure of Seymour’s is a setback for Brisbane’s bar scene. It was the latest in a long line of celebrated venues Webb had a hand in, including Peasant, Cabiria (now trading as Los Villanos), Libertine, Gordita and Sonny’s House of Blues.
Joy Redmond declined by email to comment for this story.