24-hour bar reaches agreement on reopening

PUBLISHED: 15:34 18 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:37 06 May 2010

A CONTROVERSIAL bar which had its 24-hour opening licence suspended is to reopen round the clock again in up to two months time. Bar 24-7 in Redbourn Road, St Albans, reached agreement on the reopening with St Albans District Council on Tuesday, shortly

A CONTROVERSIAL bar which had its 24-hour opening licence suspended is to reopen round the clock again in up to two months time.

Bar 24-7 in Redbourn Road, St Albans, reached agreement on the reopening with St Albans District Council on Tuesday, shortly before owner Ferdinand Konig was due to appear before magistrates to contest its closure and several associated issues.

But Mr Konig did not accept the need to serve drinks in plastic glasses and that issue was left for the magistrates to decide.

Bar 24-7 - previously known as a gay haunt called Fudge on Redbourn Road, St Albans - first attracted police attention in November last year.

They were concerned that the bar, which has a 24-hour licence, was attracting people already drunk before they got there and several episodes of violence were logged, one of which included a girl having her finger bitten off.

In court, James Anderson for Mr Konig said the bar owner had agreed to close for up to two months or until safety work was carried out to the satisfaction of fire and environmental health officers.

He had also concurred with nine out of 10 conditions attached to the re-opening imposed by the council's licensing committee including using scanning equipment to check identities and CCTV equipment with a minimum of two door staff on duty from 7pm onwards.

But Mr Konig drew the line at serving his customers' drinks in plastic glasses. Mr Anderson maintained there had only been a few incidents of violence at the club in the last year but none of them had involved glasses.

Sergeant Debbie O'Malley for St Albans police said the argument that the club had not had a glassing incident up until now was often presented as a reason for bars not using plastic glasses. She added: "When you deal with distraught parents whose child has been disfigured by a glass it makes you believe prevention is better than cure."

But magistrates found the bar's record of violence did not warrant the use of polycarbonate glasses and ordered the council to pay a £1,000 contribution towards Mr Konig's costs which were in the region of £4,000.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Konig said it wasn't the expense of using plastic glasses he objected to but because customers would not want to pay for expensive cocktails served in them.

But Sgt O'Malley pointed out that £80 bottles of champagne were served at Batchwood Hall nightclub in polycarbonate glassware.

In a statement after the hearing, the district council said that while the decision not to uphold the polycarbonate condition was disappointing, they were very pleased that the premises would have to close in order for vital public safety work to be done.

It went on: "Bar 24-7 in its current state is not a safe venue for the public due to inadequate fire safety measures and environmental health issues. The magistrates' decision to award costs against the council is very disappointing."

Blob/Batchwood, the Adelaide Ice Bar and The Horn, all in St Albans, already use plastic glasses as part of a bid to improve safety at their venues.

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