Licensing chiefs have issued Forfar’s first 2am pub licence in a vote of confidence for the ‘tight ship’ which made the policy-breaking bid.
10 Café Bar applied for the longer opening on Friday and Saturday nights as part of its pandemic recovery plan .
Covid-19 restrictions have seen the town centre premises closed for most of the past year.
Angus pubs are normally restricted to a 1am terminal closing time at the weekend.
But owner Alan Hampton convinced the area’s licensing board to approve the extra hour with a pledge to continue the bar’s zero tolerance approach towards troublemakers.
He said police had not been called once in 10’s 11-year-history.
Despite an objection from Police Scotland to the extension application, leading board figures said the responsibly run premises deserved support as part of an industry decimated by Covid-19.
But the move brought a warning from one councillor that the Forfar approval had “not just opened the door, but wedged it permanently open” to other establishments looking for the extra hour.
Mr Hampton told the board: “It is part of the plan to rebuild our business after being closed for almost a year.
“We believe the responsible way forward is to make sure that safety is guaranteed under trained, licensed staff.
“Our customer base understands this.
“Our premises is well known for its hard line on zero tolerance.”
He added: “At present our door is closed to admissions at 12.45 for the 1am termination on Friday and Saturday.
“We would intend to maintain that if we are given this extension – we don’t want to be seen as a venue of last resort.
“It’s our position that there would be no negative implications for the wider community or our business.”
Police Scotland said its objection was made on the grounds that the application was against Angus policy, but confirmed it had found no record of call-outs to Bar 10 in researching its response.
Board chairman Craig Fotheringham said: “I can certainly vouch for the way Mr and Mrs Hampton and their staff run these premises.
“This is an industry that has been absolutely decimated.
“Capacities have been significantly reduced and if there are any problems with this extension they will come back before this board for us to deal with.
“I very much doubt that will be, because they run a very tight ship.”
Flood of applications
Arbroath councillor Alex King said he was not surprised to see the 2am bid coming so soon after the board previously approved a similar extension for the Roods Bar in Kirriemuir.
“I think I will probably be a lone voice, but we have a policy for a very good reason,” he said.
“We opened the door with the Roods, now we’re making sure we’re just wedging it permanently open.
“There will be a flood of applications because it will be obvious this particular policy has been scrapped by the board.
“The net result of that will be that the nightclubs will come along saying they no longer have a one-hour advantage and they will be seeking three or four in the morning.
“We should have a long hard look at why we established these policies and shouldn’t be breaking them willy nilly.”
He recorded his dissent from the unanimous approval of the application.