ONE of Irvine's most popular venues is to close its doors for good in a major blow to the town.

The Irvine 8 Ball Pool Club has been a hotspot for numerous locals looking to enjoy a game of pool or darts alongside friends.

The Townhead venue has also staged a number of pool and darts events and competitions since it opened around six years ago.

However, the owners of the popular venue have announced that "crippling bills" have forced them to shut up shop.

The shutters will come down for the final time on February 29.

The sad news was announced in a social media post by the club on Monday, January 22.

A spokesperson said: "It is with the greatest regret and heartbreak that we are closing our doors on February 29.

"The current economy - sky high media/business rates and crippling energy bills, plus the 20 per cent VAT, have made the business unsustainable.

"The past six years have been my dream and I thank everyone of you for helping it come true.

"A special thanks to all my family who have supported me throughout the last six years."

The business owner said that the decision has come despite "trying everything" to keep the 8 Ball alive.

They continued: "The only regrets you have in life are things you didn't do. I had the amazing gift of building a business I always dreamed of.

"No regrets for me, just a heavy heart it didn't last as long as I hoped it would.

"So until February 29, please come in and enjoy your pool, darts and have a few drinks in our wee club.

"We tried everything - live music, quiz nights, bingo nights, karaoke nights, dart exhibitions, speakers nights - but it was not to be.

"Thanks to all our staff who have worked with us over the last six years and the many great people we got the privilege to meet, memories that will last a lifetime."

The venue will now host its last ever four-man team event on Saturday, February 10.

They say all who have paid to take part can request a refund or "we can make it one last party".

They added: "We also have one last big pool match on this Friday [January 26] along with the Ayrshire darts league so come along and make it a night to remember.

"It's been a pleasure."