St Albans barbers set to become wine bar after dark
PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 February 2020
By day it’s a busy barbers shop on the outskirts of St Albans... But come the evening, there are plans to transform Phoenix Barbers into an artisan wine bar.
At the end of the day, out will go the bulky barbers' chairs and the contents of the shop - in will come a specially-designed bar on wheels, as well as oil drum tables and stools.
And instead of waiting in line for a cut or a trim, customers will have the choice of a range of locally brewed beers or gins.
The idea to put the 'bar' into the barbers at the Marshalswick premises came from owner Paul Murray, who's been cutting hair there for more than 20 years.
The venture was recently given the green light, when a premises licence was granted by St Albans district council licensing sub-committee.
Mr Murray says family, friends and customers have all told them they like the idea, though he admits some can't see the bigger picture.
"There are some people who can't imagine how it's going to look as they only know it as a barbers," he said. "But once everything is gone the space is a lot bigger.
"It's a small unit but when you take the chairs out it gives the appearance of having a lot more room."
Mr Murray reckons the incredible transformation between barber shop and bar will take less than an hour each day.
He's planning to offer his customers a wide ranging choice of locally brewed beers and artisan gins, as well as wines, cheeses and charcuterie boards.
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And he hopes to be open for up to three evenings a week within a month or so.
According to the licence application the venue could open until 11pm, Monday to Saturday and between 12pm and 6pm on Sundays - with the last drink being sold 30 minutes before closing time.
At the meeting of the council's licensing sub-committee, councillors heard that there had been one objection received.
This objection said it was "highly unsuitable in this busy area" and would be detrimental to those living close-by.
It highlighted concerns about anti-social behaviour, noise, parking pressures and increased pollution from cars and smokers.
It pointed to a pre-school nursery opposite and the risk of broken glass outside and to a further licensing application that has also been approved in the area.
But addressing concerns about potential noise, Mr Murray says there' has been music playing in the shop since the mid-60s - without complaint.
And he stresses that when the unit was refurbished four years ago it was fully sound-proofed.
The council's licensing sub-committee approved the application subject to conditions that include the use of CCTV and an incident log.
Further conditions included the monitoring of smokers outside to control noise nuisance and ensuring no 'drinking vessel' was taken outside..
No unaccompanied children will be allowed on the premises, on The Quadrant, Marshalswick, after 7pm.