Guildhall Walk bar has its opening hours cut because of alcohol-fuelled trouble

The Roast Bar in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth
The Roast Bar in Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth
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A LATE-NIGHT bar’s opening hours have been cut back following police complaints about alcohol-fuelled trouble.

Roast Bar in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Walk has been told to shut at 1.30am instead of 4am seven days a week.

And the venue must stop all entertainment and alcohol sales two hours earlier than before at 1am.

It comes after police called for the bar’s licence to be revoked amid concerns about underage drinking and alcohol-related crime and disorder.

But Portsmouth City Council’s licensing committee decided the troubled venue could keep its licence – on the condition it complies with the new conditions.

They also include installing a ‘Clubscan’ system to electronically check and record every customer’s ID before they are allowed to enter the bar. New barriers must be put up outside the front of the bar where people smoke and only 20 smokers will be allowed in the area at any one time.

Licence holder Ricky Hung – who has put himself forward to become treasurer of the Portsmouth City Pubwatch scheme – is banned from being in charge of the day-to-day running of the bar. Instead a new designated premises supervisor must be appointed to take over.

No-one will be allowed in the Roast bar after 1am.

And routine job descriptions for floor workers who patrol the premises must be agreed with police, as well as routine policies for throwing customers out and refusing entry to the venue.

PC Keith Hall from Portsmouth’s alcohol-related violent crime reduction and licensing team, said: ‘The committee’s decision is reasonable and appropriate and the conditions will allow the venue to keep trading, which is good for the people of Portsmouth and the economy.

‘We had to bring the premises to review because it was highlighted on a regular basis that there are more issues with the venue than any other in the area.

‘Previous attempts to work with the manager of the venue had not resulted in a significant improvement.’

Portsmouth City Council solicitor Lesley Spencer said: ‘The committee say that the majority of problems with the premises are in the early hours after 1.30am.

‘The removal of the designated premises supervisor is because the committee is not satisfied that he is managing the premises responsibly.

‘The no re-entry condition is because they believe that will assist with better control at the door.’

It is the second time in less than four years the bar had been rapped for alcohol-fuelled trouble.

In 2007 its alcohol licence was cut by two hours to 1am following problems. However magistrates overturned the decision in 2008. Mr Hung declined to comment.