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The ongoing saga of Gareth Bale's new golf-themed bar in Bristol took yet another twist on Friday, when it was announced that the four-time Champions League winner had won permission to open the bar despite more than 100 objections.
Councillors have granted a premises licence for Par 59, which is due to open next to a bowling alley called Lane7 in Harbourside in the autumn. The announcement comes after Bale's business venture scaled back its opening hours following police concerns.
Worried that it could lead to antisocial behaviour, local residents were opposed to the bar (opens in new tab) and set-up a campaign to stop the proposed late opening hours.
However, Bristol City Council's licensing sub-committee granted the application by True Swing Bristol, a company formed by the Wales captain and three business partners in January. It was ruled that the venue, which is located in Millennium Promenade, was primarily a golf-themed attraction, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
First look inside Gareth Bale's new Cardiff city centre mini-golf bar Par 59https://t.co/rFrHMcgzqv pic.twitter.com/3IifsmtWOhMarch 17, 2022
True Swing Bristol's barrister, Roy Light, said: "One of the directors, who isn't here today, is a keen golfer, a well-known footballer and a non-drinker and he wanted to try to promote places where people could come where drinking wasn't the main thing when you went out for an evening."
True Swing originally applied to open until 01:30 from Thursday to Saturday and 00:30 on other nights, with the bar closing 30 minutes earlier. It agreed with the police to reduce this by an hour and, at the hearing, it accepted a request from residents to treat Thursday as a week night rather than the weekend.
Speaking to the panel, concerns were heard from Hotwells and Harbourside ward councillor, Alex Hartley, who stated that the business was: "Not purely a golf entertainment space but another late-night drinking venue in an area which is already at saturation.
"This is a densely populated residential area with hundreds of flats. It is already suffering a very large amount of antisocial behaviour, and the opening of a new bar will increase this."
Along with Hartley, Rosemary Heald, who is a resident at the nearby Balmoral House, also had her concerns, claiming that: "The applicants' legal adviser has painted a picture of people having a jolly time playing golf but there are up to 250 people at the venue not on the golf course at any time because only 96 can potentially play at once. That is a lot fewer people playing golf than sitting around drinking and eating."
Announcing the decision, sub-committee chairman Steve Pearce said: "The applicants have clearly listened to and addressed the concerns of residents and the responsible authorities. In a mixed-use area this strikes a fair balance between the commercial aspirations of the applicant and the concerns raised by local residents."
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.
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