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The pub closed last week and a sign reading "closed for renovation" was attached to a window. However, the venue reopened the following Saturday for Dunedin band Sneaky Feelings' gig.
Seventeen investors bought the bar after it closed in 2013, spending an undisclosed amount of money to transform the run-down tavern into a modern gastro pub.
The refurbished pub reopened in May 2016 and was even recognised at the Southern Architecture Awards in June earlier this year.
"With great regret, the shareholders and management of The Captain Cook Hotel advise that the business will no longer be open for trade until a suitable buyer can be found," the pub's backers said in a statement to Fairfax this week.
The investors said they planned to "refurbish the iconic Dunedin establishment and then offer it for sale to a suitable operator".
Otago University Students' Association president Hugh Baird said the association and the university had been looking into potential student venues for the last year.
He said The Cook was not likely to be considered due to its location off campus.