High-profile Auckland bar owner Leo Molloy has had his inner-city nightclub, Cardiac, put into receivership after running up a large debt with DB Breweries.

The 47-year-old said the debt was about $600,000.

Cardiac went into receivership on Monday with a DB-elected receiver, said Mr Molloy, who viewed the development as a "learning curve".

He said there were two "fatal flaws" with his business: set-up costs in renovating the former bank building in High St, and his management style.

The cost of the design and fit-out, which involved TV host Sally Ridge, was "fairly adjacent" to $2.5 million.

His lack of experience with music hampered the business.

"My management style was not appropriate as I've never been an enthusiast of music and I didn't have the contacts," said Mr Molloy.

"I was dismissive of the pretentious DJs who were poncing about wanting to be paid $150 an hour."

He was "mortified" that he had to give up his bar, which opened in April last year.

"I don't know what to do from here so I'm just waiting to let the dust settle, see what happens ... and what my liabilities are.

"I'm in a bit of a learning curve."

Cardiac would stay open during the receivership, he said.

The nightclub is a majestic sight, with intricate floral designs on the roof, Greek-like pillars, a curving wooden staircase, huge marble tables and the infamous unisex toilets.

Cardiac once put Herald mastheads in the urinals after the paper ran stories about Mr Molloy.

One city nightclub worker said Cardiac failed because it simply cost too much to run.

"They got ripped off from consultants, DJs overcharging ... but it was mainly the crowd."

A second man described the patrons as "flossies following the gold-card boys".

Another nightclub worker said many people wanted Cardiac to fail because Mr Molloy had made a lot of enemies.

DB Breweries spokesman Mark Campbell confirmed that receiver Stephen Lawrence, of insolvency specialists McDonald Vague, had been appointed on Monday to Sugar Bar Ltd - which trades under the name of Cardiac.

"In recent months a number of default notices have been issued," said Mr Campbell. "We've had a number of meetings with Cardiac to try and resolve matters and it's got to the point of no return for us ...

"We had no other option."

Mr Campbell would not comment yesterday on how much the brewery was owed, saying the receivers had not yet determined the amount.

But both DB and Mr Lawrence were confident the club would be sold as a going concern.

Mr Molloy, who is the sole director of Sugar Bar Ltd, once told the Herald he was driven by the fear of failure.

"I couldn't stand the humiliation of failing."

He formerly owned Euro restaurant at Viaduct Harbour and hit the headlines last year when a waitress successfully sued him for unjustifiable dismissal.

Mr Molloy has also been behind a string of pubs, including the successful Fat Lady's Arms franchise.