After 37 years of cabaret dining, Melbourne’s iconic Dracula’s restaurant is nailing the coffin shut.

A statement on the restaurant’s Facebook page says: “We are seeing the demand for our style of live entertainment in the region we offer has diminished in recent years despite our earnest efforts to maintain our popularity.”

The page has subsequently been flooded with messages from upset fans.

The vampire-themed cabaret restaurant first opened in 1980 inside a warehouse down Drewery Lane in the CBD.

In the beginning it was modelled on The Rocky Horror Picture Show and featured a “haunted castle” interior.

It moved to its current location on Victoria Street in 1990, where it morphed into its current vampire-themed incarnation.

The restaurant’s founders, Tikki and John Newman, have a long history in cabaret dining. They opened Tikki & John’s Music Hall on Exhibition Street in 1964. Starting out as a small hole-in-the-wall coffee shop designed to service the post-theatre-show crowd, it soon developed a production of its own. Its owners have claimed it to be “Australia’s first theatre restaurant.”

Newman Entertainment International, the company founded by Tikki and John, is now run by their children. It runs other themed venues across Australia and has branched out into designing museum exhibitions in Singapore.

The horror-themed “dinner and a show” venue employs 200 staff across two venues in Melbourne and the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast location will remain open.

The restaurant will host its final performance on December 23, customers with bookings after this date will receive a full refund or booking transfer.