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Keith's stays open - but at a price

Councillors order weekend bouncers at 'home of cafe society'

Written by . Published on January 21st 2014.

Keith's stays open - but at a price

LARK Lane institution Keith's Wine Bar today hung on to its weekend 2am licence - but at a price.

The city council’s Licensing Committee insisted that  two bouncers must work on the door after 9pm until closing time on Fridays and Saturdays.

You would imagine World War III had broken out at Keith’s, but nothing could be further from the truth

On other nights, "Cinderella rules" have been imposed.  No  customers will be allowed in once the bar closes at midnight and those already in the bar will have to leave by 12-30am.

Owner and licensee Keith Haggis welcomed the committee’s decision to leave the opening hours unaltered in the face of a police bid to see the licence amended to last orders by 11pm seven nights a week.

However, he told Liverpool Confidential: “I welcome the committee’s decision to leave our opening hours as they are. But as I told the councillors, I have never been a fan of doormen on duty at Keith’s.  For 36 years we have operated successfully and dealt with any situation in our own unique way by being tactful with people.  

"From the reports of the police you would imagine World War III had broken out at Keith’s, but nothing could be further from the truth.

He added: "I have always fully co-operated with the police for the sake of good social order along Lark Lane, and it seems incidents that did not even originate in our bar are being linked to Keith’s.  There has not been a single response from any of our councillors, our active community association or from any of our local residents.”

Keith HaggisKeith Haggis prefers a tactful
Mr Haggis now has 21 days to accept the new conditions or challenge them in the magistrates court. He will take advice before deciding how to proceed.

During his evidence to the committee, he cited examples of violence at or near other Lark Lane premises where door staff are employed.

Community Inspector Stuart Quirk  based at Admiral Street said he accepted Keith’s Wine Bar was integral to the fabric of Lark Lane, but in the opinion of the police a 2am licence was too long. Only one other bar in the lane, The Lodge (the former Masonic pub), has a 2am licence. He told the committee, chaired by Cllr Roy Gladden, that the application was not a "backdoor way" of drawing back licensing hours in the Lark Lane area.

During the hearing it was disclosed a planning condition was imposed on Keith’s when permission was originally granted in 1976, restricting the serving time to 11pm and requiring all customers to leave by 11.30pm.

Mr Haggis told the committee he attended a neighbourhood meeting with the police when the question of the planning condition was raised.

Keith's Lark LanePic and main pic thanks
to Lark lane Guide 
Within days he has been notified of the police intention to seek a review of the opening hours to mirror the planning condition, and he also received a note from the planning department it intended to consider enforcement order if the place did not close by 11-30pm.

Cllr Gladden said planning matters were nothing to do with the licensing issue before the committee. However the committee was told Keith Haggis has now submitted an application for a certificate of lawfulness.

If he can prove the wine bar has been operating beyond the 11.30pm close down time for 10 years or more, the certificate will be issued  to override the old planning condition.

Added Keith Haggis: “Keith’s is as safe as anywhere. We have people coming into our bar from all over the world. People describe our place as the home of café society in Liverpool.”

Announcing the committee’s decision, Cllr Roy Gladden said: “We believe violence has taken place there. We also believe the measures we have imposed will help resolve some of the problems.”

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12 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Princess ParkJanuary 21st 2014.

Never seen any trouble in Keith's. Somebody is putting the boot in, in my opinion

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2014.

Needs a lick of paint though!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 21st 2014.

Haha, no shit! At least they've fixed the giant hole in the men's bogs.

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2014.

All the twats will just go to the Everyman when it reopens. All those leather patches on the elbows will soon be polishing the bar.

1 Response: Reply To This...
sefton parkerJanuary 21st 2014.

Why go to Lark Lane when the more authentic experience is in Kirkby?

Iain ScottJanuary 21st 2014.

Astonishing. The gentlest place on the lane. The council are to blame for not nurturing lark lanes supposedly bohemian atmosphere and letting any old plastic bar/boozer set up shop.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 21st 2014.

So how would legislate for, test or measure bohemianism?

John BradleyJanuary 21st 2014.

It is Blood Alochol Level * pretension.

Pablo PicassoJanuary 21st 2014.

A lot of bars and restaurants on Lark Lane have been opened by People From The North End with lots of cash and nowhere to rinse it. A stroll down there and all becomes apparent.

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2014.

shame keith doesnt read his reviews on tripadvisor about the state of the place, especially the toilets. all the bars and restaurants need to get back to cinderella times, might just get back to the normal chilling out place everybody knew what lark lane was about.

John ShawJanuary 22nd 2014.

Some of the comments are decidedly dubious, one is forever denigrating people from the north end, people are the same the world over, good and bad, it doesn't depend on your co-ordinates of where you live. Bouncers for that matter are not the solution, many of whom have been involved in documented incidents of violence, what is required is a visible police presence with a pro-active approach to law breakers.

AnonymousFebruary 1st 2014.

Clean the toilets Keith!

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