Nova Scotia

Carleton bar's survival chances a 'million to one' after sale falls through

If another buyer can't be found in the next few days, the Carleton will close. The owner estimates the bar has lost $100,000 annually over the last three to four years.

Owner Mike Campbell expects to make decision on future of live-music venue in next few days

Mike Campbell is the owner of the Carleton Music Bar and Grill. (Shaina Luck)

The owner of the downtown Halifax live music venue The Carleton Music Bar and Grill says it will likely have to shut down after a deal to sell the business fell through Wednesday.

Owner Mike Campbell was set to sell The Carleton to the owners of neighbouring bars Lot Six and the Press Gang, however he said the buyers declined to complete the purchase.

Campbell said if another buyer can't be found, he will close the doors. He estimates the bar, which opened in 2008, has lost $100,000 annually over the last three to four years.

He has a faint hope another buyer might step forward. 

"A million to one, so there's still a chance," he said. "I think the odds are long, but it'd be a great space for the right person."

'I've fought hard'

Campbell said if that does not happen in the next few days, he is determined to close.

"I've fought about as hard as a person can fight and it's been a roller-coaster for the past six months trying to pull this together," he said.

"So probably for the sake of my health and my mental health, it's probably best for me to just go, OK, I'm confident in the fact that we tried as hard as we could try … but people are going to have to learn to get along without us."

Campbell attributes the bar's financial losses to construction at the massive Nova Centre project across the street and declining attendance at live music shows.

The bar on Argyle Street has been under creditor protection since September. At one point it turned to crowdfunding to raise money to pay the rent. 

It has won multiple industry awards, including a Music Nova Scotia award in 2016 for venue of the year.

The Carleton employs 15 people, most of them in part-time jobs. 


Shaina Luck


Shaina Luck is an investigative reporter with CBC Nova Scotia. She has worked with local and network programs including The National and The Fifth Estate. Email: