Cocktail bar in a phonebox proposed for Pride

Greg Ackerley at his Dialling In coffee shop in New Road, Brighton
Greg Ackerley at his Dialling In coffee shop in New Road, Brighton

Margaritas and cosmopolitan cocktails may go on sale from an old phone box in New Road during Brighton Pride if the owner is granted a licence.

Greg Ackerley runs the Dialling In coffee bar out of the former phone box and wants a licence to sell alcohol during Brighton Pride on Saturday, August 4 and Sunday, August 5.

Mr Ackerley also runs a pop-up cocktail bar business and builds single and double bars from wooden pallets.

One of these would be installed in front of his phone box for the Pride weekend.

But Sussex Police objected to Mr Ackerley’s plans. The force said that there was no detail of how Mr Ackerley would deal with his obligations under licensing laws and policies, such as checking identity documents for age under the Challenge 25 scheme.

However, Mr Ackerley pointed out these details were not asked of him in the application.

He said: “I have completed the forms with as much information as I’ve been asked for. I am a personal licence holder and any breach would be far more serious for me so it is in my interest to make sure I follow Challenge 25, make sure intoxicated people aren’t served, check ID and keep a log.”

During Pride weekend he plans to keep the coffee part of the business running, while selling a selection of cocktails such as margaritas, negronis, cosmopolitans, mojitos and English country gardens.

“These are drinks to enjoy and cool down with, not get hammered on,” he explained.

Mr Ackerley said that his cocktails would be priced at between £8 and £10, so not attractive to street drinkers.

In a letter of objection, Brighton and Hove divisional police commander Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell said: “New Road itself has a number of issues with anti-social behaviour.

“For this reason alone, Pavilion Gardens is closed off at times over the Pride weekend.

“The addition of a bar on the street providing alcohol raises police concerns of this adding to the issues.”

A Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel is due to meet on Wednesday, August 1 to discuss the application.

Sarah Booker-Lewis is the Local Democracy Reporter for Brighton & Hove.

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