It’s a rum do – and licensing officials don’t like it

A new Caribbean restaurant faces opposition to its plans to allow drinking at its bar.

Rum Kitchen has three restaurants in London and is taking over the former Jamie’s Italian restaurant site in Black Lion Street, Brighton.

Parent company Icarus Leisure Soho Limited said that it wanted to allow 45 people in the bar area and 15 others to stand to drink while waiting for a table or after their meal.

The restaurant would be open and serving alcohol from 11am to 11.30pm Monday to Wednesday and from Thursday to Sunday its hours would be 11am until 12.30am.

Sussex Police, Brighton and Hove City Council licensing department and a neighbouring business have objected to people drinking at the bar and while standing around. They also objected to the prospect of “off sales” for takeaway or delivery.

Officials said that the venue is in a busy part of the centre of Brighton where stricter licensing rules apply.

But the council’s policy is more favourable towards drinks licences for restaurants where diners can order alcohol with their meal.

A Sussex Police licensing officer, whose name and details were redacted by the council, said: “The style of venue is very upbeat and so moves away from the traditional restaurant setting, with the venue having DJs and a carnival vibe.”

The force wanted off-sales restricted to customers ordering food over the phone, by app or through a website, not in person, and for deliveries to be restricted private or business addresses.

The council’s licensing department cited an article published by “Big Hospitality” which described the venue as offering 100 different rums alongside a Caribbean-inspired menu.

The anonymous licensing official said that they could not support the prospect of off-sales and the proposed number of people drinking in the bar and before and after meals.

The official said: “At time of the pre-consult we had advised that we would not be able to support such activities as we believe would have a negative impact as regards to crime and disorder, within an area already impacted.”

A neighbouring business, believed to be the Golden Lion Group, objected to the prospect of dozens of people drinking at the bar.

Its letter, also redacted by the council, cited a previous objection when a London bar company called Toy Shop wanted to open a “party venue” on the site in January last year.

The letter said: “We have no objections to welcoming a food-led operator into the area if their trading style and premises licence conditions ensured it operated with a total table service policy as it is well known that the seated concept is a lot less likely to result in crime, disorder and public nuisance than a densely populated vertical drinking establishment.”

Restaurateur and Rum Kitchen director Mike Parnham said: “We have very much enjoyed opening our first restaurant outside of London and feel very much at home here.

“We engaged early on with the police and council and found there was agreement on lots of matters.

“However, for those elements still outstanding, we all felt it was best to put those matters to the licensing panel to decide.”

A council licensing panel, made up of three councillors, is due to hold a hearing starting at 10am on Wednesday (21 July) which is scheduled to be webcast by the council.

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