Pubs hope to raise an extra glass for Queen

Pub bosses hope to extend opening hours during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
Pub bosses hope to extend opening hours during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee
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DRINKERS in Edinburgh will have an extra reason to toast the Queen, with a bid to extend licensing hours to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

Under proposals submitted to licensing chiefs, every pub in the city would be able to open for an extra hour to celebrate the historic date.

It would mean that a standard pub would be able to open until 2am on both Sunday, June 4 and Monday, June 5 – the official Jubilee public holiday.

Pub bosses think that the move would allow the historic day to be celebrated by residents of Scotland’s capital city.

But there are concerns from residents that it is just being used as an excuse for late-night drinking at the expense of people that live near pubs and clubs.

The proposal has been submitted to Edinburgh’s licensing board by the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA). Chris Lowe, manager of Footlights bar in Spittal Street, said: “I think it would be good for business but also good for the city. There is a lot of support for the royals in Edinburgh, especially with the Palace of Holyroodhouse being here.

“I think people would take advantage of having the day off and there is some interest in this event. With the last one [the Golden Jubilee in 2002] I was working in a small town in Yorkshire and there was huge interest in it. It was a real party atmosphere and a party day.

“I’m sure people in Edinburgh will embrace having the day off and, with the economy the way it is, it would be good for something that gets people out and into businesses.”

The SBPA’s lawyers have written to the Edinburgh licensing board, as well as other Scottish boards, highlighting that boards can allow additional trading hours for “the Royal Jubilee” on the grounds that it is a “special event of local or national significance”, without individual pubs having to apply for licence variations.

Patrick Browne, chief executive of the SBPA, said: “It’s hard to imagine a more special event than the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – and Edinburgh’s pubs should be at the heart of the celebrations.

“The Edinburgh licensing board should ensure that the people of Scotland’s capital are able to give the Queen the massive national ‘thank you’ on behalf of all Scots – by letting pubs open for an extra hour.”

But Nick Cumming, who lives near the Grassmarket and is a member of the Grassmarket Forum, said: “I’m sure the people that go out drinking at that time of the night could not care less about the Queen’s Jubilee.

“If pubs want to extend their hours, they should have to do it on an individual basis.

“It is just a feeble excuse to open later.”

Marjorie Thomas, the city’s licensing leader, said: “The board will discuss this in the coming months.”