Restrictions on Islington Sports Bar loosened as neighbours continue to complain

2 July Islington licensing sub-committee meeting; Oliver Taggart (L) with Adrian Taggart (second from left) with Cllrs Ian Nathan (R), Viven Cutler (second from right) and Phil Graham (third from right).

Islington Council has allowed a sports bar previously condemned by neighbours for “threatening and nuisance” behaviour to serve alcohol without food, three months after a decision to keep it trading as a restaurant.

The Islington Sports Bar & Grill attracted the support of over 1,600 people in a petition seeking to let it trade booze more freely, though some neighbours continue to complain of antisocial behaviour and noise nuisance.

Neighbour Daniel Slater accused the bar of breaching the terms of its licence over the past few months, presenting a recent licensing sub-committee with pictures of patrons drinking without food, though the venue objected to their use on GDPR grounds.

Barrister Connor Kennedy who represented Mr Slater said: “It’s nigh-on inconceivable that this application can be granted, allowing individuals to drink at this establishment without food, and there not be some impact.

“A further concern is that Mr Slater received at about 11.30pm on 18 April an abusive telephone call. He called the police, who visited him, and advised him that because there was only one incident, they could not take any action that would lead to a conviction.

“They did know the identity of the caller, though they did not disclose it to Mr Slater, and they came to the conclusion that it was linked to the premises below his property.”

Slater added: “The police said at first it was probably a wrong number, but the fact that they knew my name, several personal details, where I lived, they concluded to me that it was related, but that’s their conclusion.”

The Metropolitan Police has been approached for comment, but had not responded by time of going to press.

Slater added that his experience of current premises supervisor Oliver Taggart was “not a good one”, and that when he complained of high levels of noise emanating from the bar, Mr Taggart blamed the lack of carpets in Mr Slater’s flat for the problem.

Council officers said that they have identified a need for football pubs in the area, though the licensing sub-committee saw debate on this issue, with Mr Slater presenting a list of over 30 pubs within a mile of the premises.

The Sports Bar pointed out that it has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds refitting the premises, and is now undertaking comprehensive sound insulation works, with the bar to hold a “grand reopening” once the works are completed.

Solicitor Brian Taggart, representing the Sports Bar, said: “It’s not the case that the premises want to be bad neighbours – they prefer to be good neighbours, and have expended a lot of capital to do so.

“There have been no complaints of any sort and nothing but compliments in how the premises has been run. The photographs are taken by a disgruntled neighbour who has been able to find six photos in the last few months of people drinking alcohol.

“I don’t intend to comment on the 18 April voicemail. If the police had a telephone number and they’ve investigated it, I don’t have anything to add, except that it’s categorically disputed by all parties involved that anyone at this table or involved with the premises made the call, if the call was indeed made.”

Former police officer Fred Bain, who spoke in support of the venue, added: “I’ve probably been in about a dozen times, and I can say I’ve never seen any fight or trouble, or any indication that there was going to be any fight or trouble within the premises. Every time I’ve been in the pub has been well-run and well-managed.”