Owners of Brighton cocktail bar Twisted Lemon to appeal licence refusal

Twisted Lemon Alley
Twisted Lemon Alley

The owners of a Brighton cocktail lounge are going to court to appeal the council’s decision to turn down their bid for a bar licence.

Mark Friel and Todd Williams run Twisted Lemon in Middle Street, Brighton, which is currently licensed as a restaurant.

Twisted Lemon Street View

Twisted Lemon Street View

They want to run their venue as a cocktail bar as that is what their customers want.

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In March they appeared before a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel to have a requirement to sell ‘substantial food’ conditions removed from their licence so they could focus on selling cocktails.

They described their venue as a victim of its own success as people went for the cocktails rather than the food.

During the panel Twisted Lemon’s barrister Charles Holland said if the terms of the licence were relaxed, the bar would continue to operate as it had for years, which would not change behaviour in the area.

The venue had come to the council’s attention after a spot check by police and licensing officers found alcohol on sale without food.

However it was rejected after opposition from Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council licensing department successfully opposed the application because the business is in the city’s cumulative impact zone (CIZ).

Sussex Police described Middle Street as second only to West Street for alcohol related crime and disorder.

The CIZ covers the city centre and the heart of the night time economy. Restrictions in the area include no new pubs, nightclubs or late-night take aways.

The council licensing panel’s refusal letter said: “Overall, while the panel appreciates the difficult position the applicants find themselves in, the panel considers that the removal of the restaurant condition will mean that the premises will be almost 100 per cent alcohol-led in an already saturated and challenging area.”

The case is due to be heard on October 21 and 22 at Brighton Magistrates Court.