A BAR which boasted of having the latest opening hours in Leith has been told it can no longer trade until 2am, amid fears it was attracting problem drinkers thrown out of other premises.
Indian seafood restaurant Guchhi, in Commercial Street, was keen to highlight its late-night bar in its merchandising.
But Lawrence Murray, who lives near the premises, complained about the levels of noise and asked that the city’s Licensing Board carry out a review.
“Unfortunately, the amount of food sold is very limited,” he said. “The noise between 1am and 2am is considerable – not just music but loud voices – and the premises seems to be a magnet for late-night drinkers who have been thrown out of other establishments.”
Mr Murray said that in the last week a man in the restaurant was so drunk that he had to be held up by the license holder, Humayun Reza.
“In other pubs round about they have banned people, only [for them] to go for a late-night drink at Guchhi,” said Mr Murray.
He added that an advert for the premises, which was previously a Hungarian restaurant, made reference to a “late-night bar”.
He said: “On the window there’s a sign that says ‘bar open until 2am’.”
The board heard that following a visit in January last year, police officers had witnessed several patrons causing congestion on the street after leaving the premises and had raised concerns.
But Mr Reza said: “Not a single complaint came in to Lothian and Borders Police in the past year and seven months since I have been running the place.
“For the past year, Mr Murray complained not about the noise, but about lots of other things.
“He starts complaining that there is too much banging in the restaurant and then that I brought a curry smell into the house.
“I only want to make my neighbour happy, but he has tried everything over the past year and when he did not have anything more to say, he started on this 2am licence.
“I’ve not had a single fight in my restaurant in the past year and seven months.”
Asked whether customers could buy alcoholic drinks without food, Mr Reza said the bar became a tapas restaurant late at night.
Licensing Board chairwoman Councillor Marjorie Thomas said: “You have adverts which say you are the only bar in Leith open until 2am, which does cause anxiety.”
The board took the decision to restrict the hours Guchhi could sell alcohol to 1am on the grounds of securing public safety and preventing public nuisance.
The board added Guchhi could still sell food after that time.