Concerns over ‘irresponsible’ drinks promotions

PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 August 2012

Among the promotions up for discussion are ones where free rounds can be won by tossing a coin or completing a hoopla challenge

Among the promotions up for discussion are ones where free rounds can be won by tossing a coin or completing a hoopla challenge

Archant

‘IRRESPONSIBLE’ promotions where revellers can get a free round by tossing a coin or drinks for as little as 98p could be outlawed in a new crackdown.

A meeting of licensees from across Weston has been called after concerns were raised about promotions offered in late-night venues around the town centre.

Among them, Mi Bar in St James Street currently offers a deal where drinkers can win another round for free, simply by correctly guessing the result of a coin toss.

XclusiV Bar in Richmond Street allows punters the chance to win a free round by successfully completing a hoopla challenge.

And other late-night venues such as VII in Princess Royal Square, Club Vision in Richmond Street and XclusiV Bar offer drinks at selected times for as cheap as £1, 99p and 98p respectively.

A spokesman for North Somerset Council said ‘concerns’ had been raised about promotions, and that its licensing team was jointly hosting the meeting at the Town Hall with the police this morning (Fri).

Cut-price drink offers and their effect on the town’s night-life will be up for discussion and a minimum price for drinks in town centre venues could be proposed.

Louis Macrides, who co-owns La Costa and Eternity bars, said: “I don’t think drinks should be lower than £1.50 ever, and the reality is that they are so cheap that they promote binge drinking as people can drink a lot in a short space of time.

“I think anywhere that serves drinks for less than £1.50 is asking for problems. Young people aged between 18-22 are inexperienced at drinking – they drink to get drunk, and when they get drunk there’s quite a possibility that between them drinking and going home that they will be puking their guts up or causing trouble.

“A good result for the meeting would be limiting the price of drinks to £1.50.”

Another bar owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “If irresponsible drink promotions are allowed to carry on then it is going to have a severe impact on the nightlife economy, the health service and people’s safety.

“If bars and clubs are putting these people in a position where they can treble their intake for the same money then in my eyes it is deemed as irresponsible.

“Then other venues and families are left to deal with the aftermath of these stupid promotions.

“This encourages binge drinking and glamourises and encourages excessive drinking.”

Chris Partridge, manager of the Cabot Court Hotel in Knightstone Road and chairman of the town Pubwatch scheme, said: “There is a no minimum drink price in the UK and I don’t think there should be.

“But I do think people should be helped to drink responsibly in the best interests of their health.

“There is a duty of care and responsibility for people to be drinking safely in our premises, so they come back again and so that drinking does not have a bad impact on their health.”

A spokesman for the council said: “This is a joint meeting hosted by police and the council about some concerns which have been raised around drinks promotions.

“The meeting has been called so these concerns can be discussed with licensees in the town.”


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