Lapsed licence closes iconic Crown bar

Lapsed licence closes iconic Crown bar

Belfast's Crown Bar, one of Northern Ireland's most well-known pubs, has had to close its doors because of what staff have called a "minor licensing complication".

The bar, a popular location for tourists on Belfast's Great Victoria Street, has had to close because its liquor licence has expired.It is believed the licence expired in November 2012.When contacted by UTV, a staff member said "minor licensing complications" would mean it would not be open on Friday.A spokeswoman for Mitchells & Butlers, which operates the bar, said: "Due to an administrative oversight the Crown will be closed temporarily until the new licence application hearing takes place on 17 January."During the closure we'll be taking the opportunity to carry out some staff training - at what it is our quietest time of year - and also some cleaning."We do apologise if this inconveniences our regulars but under the circumstances it is the right course of action for us to take."A spokesman for the National Trust, which owns the bar, said: "The Crown Bar has been leased to the current tenant since 2006."All statutory obligations, including the renewal of licences, rest with the tenant."We are very concerned to learn about this oversight and we encourage the tenant to seek a speedy resolution to this issue to ensure this historic building is reopened to the public as soon as possible."It's not a mere formality getting the liquor licence for the Crown Bar renewed. It expired in November 2012— Jamie Delargy (@Jamie_utv) January 10, 2014Gerry Lennon, from the Belfast Visitor Centre, added: "It's not ideal for Belfast, the evening economy, pubs and restaurants are an integral part of the visitor experience, so this is really not good news.He said: "1.7m people stayed in the city last year and research says that 25% visited the Crown and I think that sums up how important it is to tourists."So it is important that it opens again."Colin Neil, from Pubs of Ulster, said there were still plenty of iconic watering holes in the city for people to enjoy.He said: "This is incredibly embarrassing for the English licensee that operates the premise and it is unfortunate for Belfast."It is a quiet time of the year, but we do have some great bars if people do fancy a tipple.He added: "Normal renewal of a licence is relatively straight forward."This will be a bit more challenging because the licence has actually gone and there have been similar situations in other premises and they have had to buy a new licence."So it could be challenging."


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