Gareth Bale Faces Opposition Over Plans To Open New Golf Bar In Bristol

The four-time Champions League winner is facing a campaign from residents, with a licensing sub-committee hearing taking place in a few weeks

Bale stares into the distance
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Gareth Bale's plans to open a golf-themed bar in Bristol's Harbourside could be put on hold, with residents in the area launching a campaign to stop it staying open until 1.30am from Thursday to Saturday, and 12.30am on other nights, including half an hour drinking-up time.

Currently, the 32-year-old's business venture has applied for a licence for the indoor adventure golf venue Par 59, with Bale already opening a similar style bar in Cardiff.

However, due to the campaign to stop the proposed late opening hours, Bristol City Council is now set to hold a licensing sub-committee hearing in the next few weeks.

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David Mair, chairman of the leaseholders association for nearby Balmoral House and Waverley House that comprises of 104 apartments, led local opposition to a new Brewdog bar late last year.

It resulted in 165 residents' objections and, while the premises licence was granted, the pub chain agreed to curtail late-night opening in the face of overwhelming opposition. 

Along with Brewdog, Mair also stated that bars in the area were increasingly seeking extreme licensing hours that did not match their apparent uses under planning permission, and that the units in Millennium Parade - partly occupied by Lane7 and where Par 59 would like to be - were granted permission for a change of use in 2020 to a bowling centre but not a pub, which he said Lane7 effectively was in the evening when children were not allowed in.

The Par 59's Cardiff venue, which opened just a fortnight ago, has two nine-hole mini-golf courses and also describes itself as an adults-only venue.

Bale chats

Bale at the 2021 Open Espana

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"With every new late-night bar that opens, the noise and antisocial behaviour around the buildings gets worse," explained Mair. "The opening of Lane7 has had a significant impact on this, extending the party zone around Millennium Square ever closer towards the residential area.

"At weekends, the noise from drunk revellers echoes round the buildings into the early hours. The gardens of The Crescent and the reed beds beyond are becoming a public toilet.

“The area is losing its family-friendly appeal, with health and safety concerns increasing by the month. People can accuse us of nimbyism, but there needs to be a balance between the interests of residents living in the city centre and the money-making concerns of business.

“Even the council admits this is not the case currently. It simply smacks of bad planning to allow late-night bar after late-night bar to open, with all the accompanying issues this creates. The licensing sub-committee must reject the application.”

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Conservative councillor, Richard Eddy, who was the Chairman of the licensing sub-committee that imposed the conditions on Brewdog, said at the time he would raise the need to address the gap between planning and licensing policy with the council's local plan working group.

Eddy, who is now supporting residents to present their case to limit the hours of Par 59, said that in a mixed-use community like Harbourside there was inconsistency which was unfair to both applicants and neighbours.

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.