ONLY WAY: Day of reckoning for coffee shop’s alcohol bid
Harvest Canteen in Jesmond, Image: Chronicle Live
The owner of a Jesmond coffee shop claims selling alcohol to customers is the only way his business will survive, despite fears it would become a “starting point” for boozy nights out.
Harvest Canteen, on St George’s Terrace, currently has a licence to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises from 11am to 11pm everyday.
However, owner Al Hammond wants to change this to 9am to 9pm everyday and to be able to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises between 11am and 9pm daily.
Harvest Canteen is run by Ouseburn Coffee Company, which has a small roastery in Newcastle’s iconic valley.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the licensing sub-committee he told councillors that this would be the only way for his business to remain viable post-pandemic.
He said: “We listened carefully to our customers and what they want. The overwhelming majority of customers tell us they have fell out of love with the city centre.
“We’re more neighbourhood centric serving the community.
“We tried to remain as a coffee shop in the evening but the reality is people don’t drink coffee late at night and prefer a glass of wine when they’re socialising.
“The landlord kindly halved our rent during the pandemic it isn’t viable when it returns to full rates.”
However one resident objected, raising fears that it would be a ‘starting point’ for drinkers.
They wrote: “The effect may be to make the ‘canteen’ a ‘starting point’ for people who would go on to the city centre and other hotspots. I feel it would make the area less safe and desirable.”
Mr Hammond said: “Our alcohol menu is not for budget drinking or £1 per shot.
“People could start [nights out] any where. We’re not creating a situation where we’re discounting drinks that could result in anti-social behaviour any more than visiting a supermarket or anywhere else in the city.”
Newcastle City Council will publish the licensing committee’s decision within five working days.
Words: Herbert Soden, Local Democracy Reporter
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