Drinking until
4am? It’s worth giving it a trial run

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Doubtless there will be many a retired admiral spluttering into his malt today having read our story about alcohol being served until 4am.

It will probably stick in the craw of many of a certain age.

Why, you can hear them cry, should anyone want to be out ‘enjoying’ themselves in the middle of the night, let alone drinking?

The answer, of course, is that they are out of touch with the younger generation, an age group which thinks nothing of going out at midnight and returning with the sunrise on Friday and Saturday nights and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Like it or not, it’s the way of the modern world and it is not going to change any time soon.

The night-time economy of any thriving city is now vital to its success and, so important in these days of rampaging social media posts, to its image and reputation too.

If you do not feed that economy, those who crave it will simply take themselves and their precious cash elsewhere – in this instance to places like Bournemouth, Brighton or Guildford.

A return to the illogical old days of much earlier closing times and throwing everyone on to the streets at the same time is not the answer if you do not want to drive away those looking to spend in the small hours.

So Portsmouth’s biggest nightclub, The Astoria, in notorious Guildhall Walk, has convinced city councillors to grant it a licence to serve alcohol until 4am. As you will read today, that permission comes with strict conditions attached.

The police say there is still ‘an unacceptable level of violent crime’ in the Guildhall Walk/city centre area in the early hours, but admit what we have all witnessed in the past five years – that it is no longer the den of iniquity it once was.

This has been achieved by careful management and strict enforcement of licensing conditions and sensible policing.

We cannot and should not turn back the clock. Let’s give this a try and see if it works. Licences can always be revoked.