Brighton’s oldest gay bar faces closure over underage drinking and sex attacks

Posted On 03 Aug 2015 at 9:23 am

Brighton’s oldest gay bar faces losing its licence after police applied for a review after persistent underage drinking and a string of sex attacks on drunk and vulnerable women.

BulldogSussex Police notified the owners of the Bulldog in St James’s Street that it was asking Brighton and Hove City Council to review its licence, saying that officers had been called to the bar almost 50 times in the past 18 months.

Police say the bar’s agreed licensing objectives to prevent crime and disorder, ensure public safety and to protect children from harm, have been seriously and consistently undermined.

The city council’s licensing committee will now be asked to weight up police evidence at a future meeting, at which the bar will also be given a chance to defend itself.

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And it has already come out fighting, by launching a petition to “help save the bar” which has already been signed by more than 500 people.

Chief Superintendent Nev Kemp, divisional policing commander for Brighton and Hove, said: “Submitting a review application is a serious step and we have consistently tried to work with the Bulldog to address these issues but there has been little discernible improvement and there continues to be a blatant disregard for people’s safety and welfare, so we have been left with no other option.

“The continued risks posed to public safety and particularly the vulnerable by the venue is unacceptable and I am determined that this does not continue any longer.”

The review application cites 48 incidents where police have been called to the pub since January 2014, in addition to a test purchase operation on Friday 17 July where alcohol was sold to a 17-year-old child. The premises licence includes a condition prohibiting under 18s and a challenge 21 condition.

The premises licence holder and designated premises supervisor, who were present at the time, were spoken to by officers immediately after the offence but within a few hours a 13-year-old and 15-year-old child were admitted to the pub.

Police say there have been a number of incidents including persistently high levels of drunkenness, assaults and several sexual assaults on intoxicated vulnerable females inside the premises.

Other incidents have also occurred where vulnerable, intoxicated females have left the Bulldog and have been assaulted and sexually assaulted elsewhere.

  1. paul jarvis Reply

    you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.in the late 1990’s i took over the running of the racehorse inn on the corner of queens park road and elm grove.my prediseser didn’t call the police as a drunk customer(who had been drinking elsewhere)pulled out a knife and was being very threatening.the then landlord disarmed him,told him to go home and sleep off his drunken state.somehow the police were informed as to what had happened the day befor.it resulted in the landlord,his wife,and 2 kids being chucked out and homeless etc.the pub that had kept on supplying the drunk got off scott free,the landlord of the racehorse didn’t.you can try as much as you like to stop idiots coming into your bar and continue drinking by getting friends to get more booze without the barstaff knowing.it’s a very unfair and persecution of a great bar,whether you are straight(as i am) or gay.it’s about time the people who are causing so much hate were banged up until they know what it is to be diverse.

  2. Resident locally Reply

    i live very near to the bulldog and there is certainly no control – I might start a petition to ensure its closed….

    • dollydaydream Reply

      Move!! The Bulldog has been there longer than you!!

  3. James Gundersen-McLaughlin Reply

    This is a great late night venue. It is not the bars fault if customers behave badly-they aren’t the punters parents.
    It does seem a lot of straight people go in there because they don’t have anywhere else to go late at night.
    Surely all bars face these problems?
    Pride has also been ruined by the influx of Straight people.
    Maybe we should ban them from all our venues and see how they like that!

    • dollydaydream Reply

      Surely pride should be for everyone? We as a nation have excepted Gay, Lesbion, Transexual e.t.c why cant you accept us hetrosexuals?

  4. Peter Gretton Reply

    Why ? tell me why ,are straight people frequenting a well known gay bar ?? Who are the parents of these 13 and 15 year olds who can appear to be 18 with make up and fashionable clothing! It,t time these so called parents took responsibility for their children which is what in fact these minors are and what time of day exactly were these kids found in the Bulldog ??? Gay men aren,t interested in sexual encounters with females and it,s time these drunken females took responsibility for their behaviour ! The Bulldog is a great respected venue by the Gay community in Brighton and I absolutely love the atmosphere and friendliness of the venue! It must be very to difficult to maintain age checks when busy and let’s face it when a 17 year old was planted to be served then who on God,s earth would be aware of age difference between 17 and 18 year old! The local resident who’ wants to get the place closed down has lived there how long ??? The bar has been there many years !! Unless the resident lived there before the Bulldog opened ?? Why live near a public bar ?? The staff are a great team and it,s all being spoilt by selfish straight people who overindulge probably spending money in Straight bars beforehand then causing trouble in the Bulldog when out of Control later in the evening . I am a 64 year old gay businessman, a regular visitor to Brighton with plans to relocate here because of the fantastic venues like the Bulldog ! We have come too far to have these venues disappear because of drunken straight youngsters who have been allowed to use use the bar and then abusing this privelidge !

    • dollydaydream Reply

      The bulldog has many straight supporters! This is not a gay issue and you shouldnt judge us all straights!!

    • Wayne oreilly Reply

      I am straight and a regular in this bar , and have been for quite some time, bars are not allowed to be deemed gay only ,I like this bar as everyone is extremely friendly and there are no issues with sexuality at all , the only issue comes from a few hetrophobic people that
      Do not want to integrate in to society and be acceptant to all , everyone in the bar does not label me as straight, just as their mate and that is how it should be.

  5. wayne oreilly Reply

    After reading your ill informed and rather biased opinion which is dramatised more than East enders, and is aimed at selling copies of your rag , I would suggest you actually get some hard facts together rather than scaremongering like you have , until the true facts of this case come out you have no actual fact on which to write an article like this, you have taken the police statement that was released and added a bit for good measure, until this goes to the licensing committee it is only the view of Mr Nev Kemp , and is only an accusation. I would also like to point out that the by shortening his birth name to Nev doesn’t actually do him any favours, as a person in his position should really have a bit more professionalism and be called by his actual name , trying to be “hip” really doesn’t connect when you want respect from the public .

  6. Wayne Oreilly Reply

    I would like to know what happened to my comments that where posted last night, it didn’t contain any bad language and wasn’t a foul rant , just my point of view…it would appear that this is a biased moderated site that refuses comments that goes against the uninformed opinion of the author.

  7. James Gundersen-McLaughlin Reply

    I think I should explain that what I meant by Pride being ruined by the influx of straight people is in reaction to my experiencing some very intimidating behaviour from a couple of very drunk straight women who where in the Bulldog on Pride night. One who thought it was great fun to keep tapping me in the face and laughing, and another one who kept trying to push me off my seat.
    I have no problem with heterosexual people and don’t mind them enjoying themselves when it isn’t at the expense of others.
    I would like to live in a world where we could all get along with each other, but if people abuse this by not respecting others then it needs to be addressed and challenged.
    But I am speaking from some of my own personal experiences on the Gay scene in Brighton.

  8. sia door staff at different venue Reply

    Why anit the door staff doing they job and checking ids and throwing the drunks out

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