A seafront restaurant can hold drinks-only events after an application to relax its licence was granted.
In the downstairs part of the Brighton Beach Club, known as the Milkmaid Pavilion, customers could only have a drink previously if they were seated, eating and being served by waiting staff.
Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council objected to the venue’s application to remove the restrictions.
The police and council were concerned that the restaurant’s owners would effectively create a pub downstairs in an area that was already “saturated” with pubs, bars and clubs.
But solicitor Niall McCann, representing the King’s Road venue, told a council licensing panel that the venue just wanted to allow people to stand up at events and for wedding drinks parties.
Mr McCann said: “What we would like to do is have pre-booked functions downstairs.
“It is a beautiful area downstairs. It’s all glass. It faces out to sea. And we have a number of inquires from groups who want to book it out.”
Currently the venue uses “temporary event notices” (TENs) for drinks-only corporate events, 50th and 60th birthdays and wedding parties from the neighbouring bandstand.
Mr McCann told the panel, which sat at Hove Town Hall today (Monday 14 October), that the licence would allow people to walk around and mingle, rather than requiring staff to ask them to sit down.
He said: “At the moment we have to say, ‘you have to remain sat down,’ which isn’t very good for customer service.
“We also want to offer drinks for people getting married who do not want to have their wedding breakfast with us.”
He said that the downstairs area was generally used for casual dining and pizzas where families with children could relax.
Sussex Police and the council licensing department proposed a number of conditions such as informing the force in advance of any functions and a ban on 18th and 21st birthday parties.
Helen Sprason, the operations manager for the owner, the City Pub Group, said that the restaurant would still accept 18th and 21st birthday bookings for small family meals but would not host 18th and 21st birthday parties if its licence conditions were relaxed.
Councillor Dee Simson, who chaired the licensing panel, said: “With those conditions, we are happy to grant the licence.”
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