Brighton restaurant may lose licence after breaching rules during Pride

A Brighton restaurant faces losing its drinks licence after police found tables full of alcoholic shots on sale during the Pride weekend.

Customers were seen standing and drinking, with alcohol displayed on tables at Yelken, in St James’s Street, Brighton, in breach of the venue’s licence.

Yelken was granted a restaurant licence in May last year. The conditions of the licence require customers to be sat at tables, served by waiting staff and to have a main meal if they want to drink alcohol.

Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council’s licensing team issued warnings to Yelken after the licence breaches observed during Pride.

A report to a council licensing panel said that further breaches were found during a follow-up visit in September.

The panel, consisting of three councillors, is due to decide whether the business can keep its alcohol licence at a hearing next Monday (12 December).

The report said that the premises licence holder and designated premises supervisor Ali Algun refused to remove the alcohol on display when licensing officers challenged him on Sunday 7 August.

It said that Sergeant Vince Lam entered the premises at 6.07pm after spotting customers standing and drinking. Some left holding their pints.

Two minutes later, PC Andre Bernascone and licensing officer Hannah Staplehurst entered the restaurant and explained the licence conditions to Mr Algun.

They asked Mr Algun to remove the shot glasses, cans of beer and jugs of cocktails from tables in the middle of the restaurant, take the alcohol to the kitchen and return the layout to a restaurant style.

The report said: “At 6.12pm, Hannah Staplehurst stated the premises licence needs to be adhered to as it should be on a normal day. (Ali Algun) points outside, questioning, ‘This isn’t a normal day.’

“Hannah Staplehurst reminded (Ali Algun) that despite this weekend being Brighton Pride, this does not allow any licensee to sell alcohol as they want, and they must follow their premises licence conditions.

“This is when (Ali Algun) refused to listen to our advice, stating the tables were to remain as they were, but customers would sit on random chairs at the back of the premises.

“Hannah Staplehurst then clarified with (Ali Algun) that he was not going to move his tables and chairs to adhere to the premises licence.

“(Ali Algun’s) response was, ‘No, I am not going to remove this,’ referring to the tables of alcohol.

“As (Ali Algun) refused to work with us and refused to adhere to the premises licence, the decision was made by police licensing to leave the premises and call a meeting with (Ali Algun) the following week.

“At 9.18pm, while walking through St James’s Street, we noticed Yelken was still open and we witnessed two males and a female leave the premises with drinks in open containers.

“PC (Kate) Hancox and Sgt Lam approached the customers who had left the premises to confirm what they were consuming.

“All three customers confirmed they were drinking an alcoholic cocktail which they had purchased at Yelken.”

The report said that, at the follow-up meeting with Sgt Lam and Ms Staplehurst, Mr Algun said that his business partner and friends advised him to sell more alcohol during Pride weekend.

The report also said that Mr Algun was not aware of the licensing rules that permitted other ways of trading for “temporary events”.

The licensing panel hearing is due to start at 10am on Monday (12 December). It is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website.

  1. Van Diesel Reply

    Totally irresponsible. Remove his licence. If he wants a bar he can apply, like everyone else.

  2. Feith Reply

    Nice restaurant, very nice people as well.
    I believe that we need to support local shops , everyone definitely deserve second chance even if they have a small problems. Hard to keep business alive these days.
    If they lose the license or some restrictions who gonna get the benefit , I think nobody.
    I hope every shops in Brighton keep going well and successful to bring more people to our lovely city .

  3. Pienaar Reply

    It’s a new business at Kemptown. Yelken is one of best restaurants I visit with my friends frequently. I am pretty sure this was rookie mistake, this restaurant is quite new and owner’s first business. So, mistakes happens. Anyone could make such a mistake if they were in his place. This does not mean that we should close it to every business and end its work as long as it is like this. We are going through a difficult process financially anyway. It is always my priority to support small local businesses. I think we should always support the small business.

  4. chris Reply

    Given that during pride all rules semingly go out of the window I think it may be disproportionate to bar the fellow from making a living. Severe knuckle-rapping tho !

  5. Mike Reply

    Is anyone injured?is anyone hospitalized? I suppose it wasn’t mentioned here. How we can support local businesses if we don’t even warn them and take away their licenses so quickly?
    All I can think is that it was a bad day for the owner who had been struggling like other businesses.
    I have seen so many shops are already closed because of a lack of staff, high costs, continued disruptions, etc. Please look around guys!

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