Abandon Ship director steps down from business after ‘incredibly difficult time’

The business has a range of bars across Glasgow and Scotland and made headlines this year after a string of staff complaints.

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Richard Davies announced that he will be stepping down as a director of Abandon Ship with immediate effect. Davies was one of the people involved in running Abandon Ship and Macmerry 300, which have bars across Glasgow including the namesake Abandon Ship in the city centre and Fly South in the west end.

In January Unite Hospitality Union revealed that staff in the Glasgow and Dundee venues felt there had been ‘systemic mistreatment’ and shared a statement saying that “70 per cent of all workers across 13 bars in Glasgow and Dundee including The Luchador, Bird & Bear, Draffens, The Bull, Fly South and Franks have submitted a shocking collective grievance outlining systemic mistreatment to the owners of MacMerry 300 & Abandon Ship Ltd.”

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Since then bosses promised to address the issues raised and appointed an external investigator to assess their handling of claims of sexual misconduct against some staff members.

Abandon Ship Bar opened its doors in the former premises of restaurant So L.A. in late 2021.

Now Davies has annunced he will be leaving the business. In a lengthy social media post, he wrote: “I will be stepping down as Director of Abandon Ship Bars effective immediately and will cease all involvement with the bars including creatively.

“I appreciate this may be a shock, but this was not a decision that was made lightly. The last 6 months have been incredibly difficult for all involved, not just myself.

“I had a frank and honest conversation with my business partner and operator of the bars and unfortunately we both realised that we have different paths we wish to take and that change was necessary. The decision was made that I step away from the business immediately. I wish them all the luck with whatever the future holds for them and the venues.

“I love the Abandon Ship Bars. My heart is literally scrolled across the walls. The positive conversations and moments shared at those bars will live with me forever. They have helped me during some of the darkest times I’ve faced. Unfortunately, swimming against the current has to come to an end but I hope to remain a friend and customer to the bars. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been a part of these experiences as I have learned so much and developed so many important relationships.

“As my journey with Abandon Ship Bar concludes, I have come to the realisation that so it must with Abandon Ship Apparel. “

Unite Hospitality Union responded, saying: “We are disappointed to see Mr Davies leave Abandon Ship as he was the only Director to apologise for the way workers across Macmerry and AS had been treated. We hope that the owners of Macmerry and AS will work with Unite and its members to resolve the plethroa of issues that remain across the chain, including in the ongoing independent review into sexual misconduct.”

Abandon Ship opened in Glasgow last year, at the site of So LA which closed in 2020. Owned by Scottish entrepreneurs, Phil Donaldson, Richard Davies and AJ McMenemy, the company also opened The Bull, a gastro pub on Great Western Road last year.

McMenemy and Donaldson set up the group MacMerry 300 in 2010, and now own an empire of venues across Scotland, including the original Abandon Ship Bar, which they describe on Instagram as a “fun and dumb bar for those who love art, good vibes and great drinks”.

They also have the Luchador and Fly South, among others.