A High Wycombe bar described as the town's "premier music venue" that championed local bands is closing its doors - and is set to be replaced by a sports bar. 

Staff at The Phoenix, in Bridge Street, say it has become "another victim of the Covid pandemic" and they "can't sustain it anymore" - prompting devastation from bands and music fans from the town and beyond. 

The pub is set to stay open under new management, but it will become 'The Station', a sports bar opening on June 1, showing Sky and BT Sports, as well as having live bands, karaoke and DJs and darts and pool. 

The last live music gig at The Phoenix will be 'Phoenix Fest', held on May 28 and they have "packed in more bands than you can shake a stick at" to give it an "epic" send-off.

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Sharing the sad news on Facebook, The Phoenix wrote: "Unfortunately, The Phoenix has become another victim of the Covid pandemic and we can't sustain it anymore.

"We’re gutted, but the end was inevitable a long time ago and we held on as long as we could.

"Thank you for being part of the Phoenix family for so many years."

The news has devastated the hundreds of bands who have performed there over the years, as well as students and music fans who regularly pack out the pub. 

One person wrote: "Gutting doesn't even begin to cover it. Worst news of today by far.

"I have met so many great people there and am proud to have worked with such a supportive venue on a few things over the years.

"I hope the new management don't make a boring cookie cutter place out of one of my, and many of us here's, favourite haunts.

"Your support for upcoming alternative bands and the scene as a whole as been invaluable. Thank you for everything."

Another added: "Such a shame, it's a great venue. Were losing too many of these essential places."

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A fellow music fan said The Phoenix had been a "safe space" for many people. 

Others were angry at the opening of another sports bar in the town. 

One person said: "Heartbroken to see another alternative place go. I cannot fathom for life of me who can see a place with so much identity and such a passionate community and decide to turn it into yet another soulless sports bar.

"Upon my move back to Wycombe I was delighted to see that Wycombe had such an active alternative community as I have seen so many other places in the UK lose their alternative shops and identity. And now yet another one has gone."

The Union Pub Company, who will be running The Station, said The Phoenix has "clearly not been performing" as a music venue so they are "going down a different route", but live music will be held most weekends, with karaoke and other entertainment as well.