CITY CENTRE: Bar bidding for extended hours on Sunday nights
The Mayfair pub in Newcastle city centre, Image: NCJ media
The boss of a Newcastle bar has pleaded with city officials to let it stay open into the early hours of Monday morning, after a £1m transformation to distance the venue from a “chequered past”.
The Mayfair Pub & Kitchen is bidding to extend its opening hours until 2am on Sunday nights, despite opposition from council and police chiefs.
Councillors were urged on Tuesday morning to allow the venue, which opened at The Gate in 2019, to add two hours to its existing trade.
Solicitor Beverley Smith told a Newcastle City Council licensing hearing that the Mayfair was not aware of a single complaint about it since it opened and that its owners had spent more than £1m converting it from what used to be Sam Jacks.
While council bosses had warned that residents living nearby The Gate have to put up with noise from “groups of people shrieking, shouting with accompanying boisterous behaviour”, the venue’s owner said there was “no evidence” of problems caused by Mayfair or its “older crowd” clientèle.
Joe Smith, of Newgate Pubs & Bars, said the Mayfair was “a bit different and special” compared to surrounding bars and clubs and had “reassuringly expensive” drinks, compared to one neighbour who he claimed has sold nine shots for just £5.
He added that the pub already opens until 2am on other nights including busy Fridays and Saturdays, as well as during one-off special events on Sundays before, and has “never had any problem”.
City council licensing boss Jonathan Bryce has objected to the venue’s 2am bid, though acknowledged that the Mayfair has taken the premises away from a “chequered past”. Sam Jacks closed down in 2017 and subsequent plans to turn it into a Players Bar never came to fruition.
He warned that there had been worries about DJ noise from Mayfair and “mismanaged external area operations”, particularly during Euro 2020, and raised concerns about plans under its licensing application to keep bi-folding doors open until 11.30pm.
Northumbria Police has also asked councillors to refuse the bar’s late hours request, arguing that it “has not shown how operating until 2am on a Monday morning will not have a negative impact”.
Police solicitor Hayley Hebb told the hearing that just because there have not been any complaints about the Mayfair does not make it an exceptional case and urged them to consider the impact on noise and crime caused by all of the late night activity around The Gate, not just the Mayfair itself.
Words: Daniel Holland, Local Democracy Reporter
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