Category Archives: Pubs

Blackpool lap dancers ‘in danger’ if clubs forced to close and workers ‘forced underground’

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool lap dance club owners say council plans to close down the seaside resort’s venues would put its workers – which include mums and students – at risk

 

Sinless lap dancing club in Blackpool
Sinless lap dancing club in Blackpool (Image: Google)

Proposals to close down Blackpool’s lap dancing clubs will put its workers in danger, operators of the venues have warned.

It is feared dancers will be ‘forced underground’ to work behind closed doors in hotel rooms and at unregulated venues; practices associated with higher risks of sexual assault and exploitation due to a lack of security.

Blackpool Council announced in January this year it planned to phase out lap dancing clubs in order to enhance its reputation as a family resort.

 

A proposed new policy would permit only one sex shop to trade, and set a zero limit on lap dancing clubs.

The existing four clubs would be allowed to continue operating, but once those licences lapse for any reason they would not be renewed.

Operators have now hit out at the proposals after taking part in a recent consultation.

Ashley Sayers, whose family has operated Eden One on the Promenade for 14 years, said dancers ranged from single mums to women paying their way through university.

She warned: “The industry will be forced underground and girls will be tempted, if not forced, to work in places such as hotels for private bachelor parties where their risk of sexual assault and financial exploitation would be alarmingly high.”

In her submission to the council, she added the regulated clubs provided security including “a buddy system for girls going out for breaks, provided security walk outs to cars or cabs at the end of shifts”.

Eden One, in Blackpool
Eden One, in Blackpool

Ms Sayers said: “I have grave concerns that these proposed changes will change the nature of the industry and take away this safe working environment we have built over the years.

“If the council goes ahead with the proposed reduction to zero and the worst happens and all Blackpool SEVs (sexual entertainment venues) are closed these girls will no longer have these safe and regulated operating environments.”

Steve Smith is manager of Heaven and Sinless lap dancing clubs in the resort.

He also warned performers would turn to non-licensed venues that “in most instances do not provide security or CCTV for the protection of the public or dancers”.

The National SEV Coalition has objected to the measures, warning regulated clubs will be replaced by “ad hoc stripping events” under temporary licences “whilst dancers will potentially have to work at private parties (either in hotel rooms or at the customers’ own properties), work in underground clubs or might have to get into more dangerous forms of sex work”.

The revised policy is due to be considered by the council’s licensing committee on Tuesday (September 21).

Councillors are recommended to agree the proposals which must then go before the executive for final approval.

 

 

Closure of Blackpool lap dancing clubs will put sex workers ‘at risk’

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Proposals to close down Blackpool’s lap dancing clubs will put sex workers in danger, operators of the venues have warned.

 

It is feared dancers will “be forced underground” to work behind closed doors in hotel rooms and at unregulated venues with higher risks of sexual assault and exploitation.

Blackpool looks to phase out lap dancing clubs

Blackpool Council announced in January this year it planned to phase out lap dancing clubs in order to enhance its reputation as a family resort.

Eden One, one of four lap dancing clubs in Blackpool

Eden One, one of four lap dancing clubs in Blackpool

A proposed new policy would permit only one sex shop to trade, and set a zero limit on lap dancing clubs.

The existing four clubs would be allowed to continue operating, but once those licences lapse for any reason they would not be renewed.

But operators have hit out at the proposals after taking part in consultation.

Ashley Sayers, whose family has operated Eden Two on the Promenade for 14 years, said dancers ranged from single mums to women paying their way through university.

She warned: “The industry will be forced underground and girls will be tempted, if not forced to work in places such as hotels for private bachelor parties where their risk of sexual assault and financial exploitation would be alarmingly high.”

In her submission to the council, she added the regulated clubs provided security including “a buddy system for girls going out for breaks, provided security walk outs to cars or cabs at the end of shifts.”

Ms Sayers said: “I have grave concerns that these proposed changes will change the nature of the industry and take away this safe working environment we have built over the years.

“If the council goes ahead with the proposed reduction to zero and the worst happens and all Blackpool SEVs (sexual entertainment venues) are closed these girls will no longer have these safe and regulated operating environments.”

Steve Smith, manager of Heaven and Sinless lap dancing clubs in the resort. also warned performers would turn to non-licensed venues that “in most instances do not provide security or CCTV for the protection of the public or dancers.”

The National SEV Coalition has also objected warning regulated clubs will be replaced by “ad hoc stripping events” under temporary licences “whilst dancers will potentially have to work at private parties (either in hotel rooms or at the customers’ own properties), work in underground clubs or might have to get into more dangerous forms of sex work.”

The revised policy is due to be considered by the council’s licensing committee on Tuesday, when councillors are recommended to agree the proposals which must then go before the executive for final approval.

 

Top Blackpool restaurant manager’s perfect response to ‘watery beer’ accusation

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

‘Sadly I don’t think our restaurant is for you if you liken it to your local takeaway’

 

Generic image of beers
Generic image of beers (Image: Copyright Unknown)

A manager has hit back at claims beer was ‘watered down’ at a Chinese restaurant.

A customer of Michael Wan’s Mandarin Cantonese Restaurant, on Clifton Street in Blackpool, wrote about their experience on TripAdvisor.

After visiting in July, a two star review titled ‘did not live up to reputation’ was posted.

The review expressed dissatisfaction at food and drinks – noting that the ‘beer was watery’ and complaints about portion sizes.

But they did complement the restaurant on their decor and atmosphere, and praised the staff for adhering to strict social distancing rules.

It seems that wasn’t enough to persuade them to return, however, ending the review with ‘nothing special I’m afraid, sorry’.

The full review said: “Was lovely decor, clean to a degree but table was so sticky the paper menu stuck to it and tore! Nice atmosphere, Covid rules being stuck to very well, lots of attentive staff, all welcoming.

“Food arrived promptly and was hot but that’s all really, was unimpressed by it if i’m honest. Ordered double spirits and was given singles, beer was watery, coke was flat and warm.

“Ordered a large fried rice and a small one, large arrived on a plate, small arrived in a covered bowl but when the bowl was tipped out on the plate, it was the exact quantity of the large portion! Small was £4.40, large was billed as £9.50 but we were charged £11.50 for it on the bill.

“Twice cooked pork seemed to be just 3 strips of thin streaky bacon cut into 4 pieces, expected pork belly or something thicker.

“Everything was over salted and was cooked with chilli and had more raw chilli sprinkled on it. Ribs and noodles were nice.

“First time going but will sadly probably be the last, was expensive for local takeaway standard food (average £40 per head for starter, main and a drink) nothing special I’m afraid, sorry!”

The general manager at Michael Wan’s Mandarin Cantonese Restaurant responded to the review – hitting back at claims the beer was watered down.

Michael Wan's Mandarin Cantonese Restaurant, Blackpool
Michael Wan’s Mandarin Cantonese Restaurant, Blackpool

They also said that many issues mentioned in the scathing review could have been solved if staff were informed of them.

Ending their response, the manager suggested that the restaurant ‘wasn’t for’ them if ‘you liken it to your local takeaway’.

The response said: “Thanks for your kind words about our restaurant decor, staff and atmosphere. We do keep the restaurant very clean and follow covid measures as you mention, this would account for the sticky tables as the sanitiser we use does leave a little residue.

“We have spoken to the team and they don’t remember anyone complaining about the things you mention, had you done so they would have done what they could to resolve the issues at the time, unfortunately there is little we can do a few days after.

“I’m not sure what happened with the drinks, beer is supplied in sealed barrels or bottles so if you’re suggesting it’s watered down, this simply isn’t true or possible. Our soft drinks are usually served with plenty of ice, so apologies if this wasn’t the case on this occasion, again if you’d mentioned it to one of the team they would have been happy to change it for you.

“I’ve checked all the bills from the last two days but can’t see one matching what you mention above so it’s difficult to know where the 11.50 came from. As you mention, large special fried rice is 9.50 but a small special fried rice is 6.50. Steamed rice is 2.60 and egg fried rice 3.20. Special, steamed and egg fried rice do come in different portion sizes as they contain different ingredients, a large special may well be the same as a small steamed. Even so I’m not sure how it could be 11.50 as out billing system generates the bill from the individual prices.

“We do use 100% belly pork, it is supplied in large joints which are then finely sliced. Sadly I don’t think our restaurant is for you if you liken it to your local takeaway, we do continually check the food coming out of the kitchen so are happy that we do provide an excellent standard of food.

“”Also reading your other reviews the salt issue might be down to your personal taste preference as it seems a common theme throughout, perhaps mention you prefer less salt when ordering.”

Michael Wan’s Mandarin Cantonese Restaurant has a 4.5 star rating on TripAdvisor – and is ranked as number 11 out of 427 restaurants in Blackpool.

 

We tried Blackpool’s own beautiful garden pier bar and it was brilliant

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Dear reader, it was brilliant. Albeit, not the best choice for anyone operating on a budget

 

Bloom Bar
Bloom Bar

At the end of the North Pier rests the pink princess of damsel’s in distress: Bloom Gin Bar.

Bloom Gin Bar has given something new to North Pier since 2020 and it’s adjacent sister bar, The Garden, opened to the public earlier this year.

The Gin and Prosecco bar is covered in flowers and greenery, making it the perfect spot for an Instagram-worthy photo or scenic beverage – if that’s you’re thing.

Although Blackpool’s Bloom looks pretty from afar, is it any good on the inside? Is it worth the thousands of flowers who’ll spend their lifetimes on their walls?

Dear reader, it was brilliant. Albeit, a little expensive.

You can have a drink and watch the sea, without getting cold

Like most places covered in flowers, Bloom is obviously a very pretty place to visit.

Inside, the bar is a relaxed and gorgeous setting. It’s got low lighting above the bar, and comfortable seating throughout the old solarium.

Inside Bloom Bar
Inside Bloom Bar

If you’re lucky enough to grab a seat inside by the window, you have a stunning view of the sea and can sip away on your gin whilst watching the tide roll in and it’s great because for once, you’re not being rattled by the wind.

It’s the perfect place for a unique date night, with intimate details and a range of drinks to choose from you’re bound to create some special memories at the end of the north pier.

They had an impressive range of gins which were delicious

Graduating into the legal age for drinking in 2018 basically meant that I immediately became a gin connoisseur as soon as I turned 18. Pink gin was at every corner as the World Cup saw England actually place in the top four. Not much has happened since then.

Bloom’s range of gin was exceptional. I don’t think there was a single gin flavour that they didn’t have.

Did I step out of my comfort zone and order something other than a strawberry oriented gin? No, but I easily could have. It was like being Charlie in the Chocolate factory, except I’m over 18 and the chocolate factory is a gin bar.

Bloom Bar
Bloom Bar

We spent £15.40 on two double gin and tonics, so it’s not the cheapest place to visit. But, if you can imagine the gin flavour you would love to try, I would say Bloom probably has it.

Just make sure you don’t ask, “what gin do you have?” because you’ll probably be met with some concerned stares.

Bloom also offers afternoon teas and prosecco, so it basically caters for everyone, including your gran.

The Garden is a really great place to be

We visited Bloom on a Thursday evening, and although it wasn’t rammed with fellow gin drinkers, The Garden was a really brilliant place to drink.

With its funky DJ providing a garden-party atmosphere to the pier, the Blackpool gin spot is like something from a buzzing city centre like London or Manchester and it had a handful of people having a dance as we tipped into that Friday feeling.

Bloom Garden
Bloom Garden

There’s endless opportunities for your Instagram feed, but even better, loads of space to have a dance by the sea. And that we did, move over children, let me show you how to do the macarena.

Seating is operated on a first come, first served basis but we had absolutely no problem guaranteeing a table both inside and outside.

You can even have a tipsy tumble onto the vintage carousel on your way out, if you have any spare change.

 

 

The ‘hidden gem’ Blackpool music venue helping ‘revive’ indie-alternative music scene

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Bootleg Social in Blackpool has some big acts set to perform in September

 

Bootleg Social in Blackpool

Bootleg Social in Blackpool

From childhood friends to co-owners of Blackpool’s independent music venue, Bootleg Social have a packed calendar after being closed due to the pandemic.

The highly-rated bar and live music venue is located in Blackpool’s town centre and prides itself on ‘being a bit of a hidden gem’.

The 330 capacity venue has supported and nurtured new and upcoming bands from the local area since 2014.

LancsLive spoke to Stephen Skelly, co-owner of Bootleg Social, about the venue, upcoming events and how they coped with pandemic closures.

The cool location of Bootleg Social used to belong to Jenks, known to many as a great indie night out. In fact, that’s exactly what encouraged co-owners James Ogilvie and Stephen Skelly to takeover the building for Bootleg Social.

Stephen said Jenks was the place the friends went when they were all 18 and after coming back from university, found that the beloved venue was up for lease.

Stephen said: “I was at a point in my life where I could either buy a house or buy a venue, so I got a venue.”

The friends set up the venue to celebrate their love for indie and alternative music, and have been directing the business since 2014.

“When we first started we hosted acoustic acts mostly, it was a bit DIY,” Stephen said.

As time went on they continued to build the venue and their stage and became a multipurpose venue used to put on club nights and DJ events, as well as offering a “decent” collection of craft beers and serving food to their customers.

Previously, the menu consisted of Pieminister pies but has recently changed to “a new Chicago style deep dish pizza” where customers can order a full pizza, or even just a slice.

DJ set at Bootleg Social

DJ set at Bootleg Social

Stephen believes the indie and alternative music scene in Blackpool is “recovering”, he recalled the scene from “around 10 years ago” where the scene was “great”, but then he said: “it dwindled and youth music culture changed and people had different interests”.

“Since we’ve opened Bootleg there seems to be a bit of a revival of the indie-alternative music scene. Live music and bands in the area are sprouting up again which is nice and refreshing.”

The turning point for Bootleg was back in 2018 when The Wombats asked fans which small venues they should tour through.

After an online vote, Bootleg Social won, meaning they became one of four grassroot venues to host the band to adoring fans.

“It put us on the map in a way,” Stephen said, “from then on, being able to say we had previously hosted the Wombats gave Bootleg a bit more credibility with agents who were more willing to send bands through Blackpool.”

He continued: “It was a big thing for us, and it was a big thing for the community, it gave people the belief that if we want good things to happen and we want good bands to come through Blackpool then everyone needs to put a little effort in and it can happen.”

When the pandemic hit in 2020, Bootleg was closed until May 2021 where they reopened with “a few” socially distanced gigs with a maximum capacity of 40 people and seated with table service.

When the now-dubbed Freedom Day came round in July, Bootleg came back with a sold-out gig with the local band Alright who had formed over lockdown.

Stephen said: “It was like a return to old times, with a few precautions involved obviously.”

The venue encourages lateral flow tests before events and staff wear masks behind the bar. They have also installed UVC air filtration and ventilation to make gigs “as safe as possible.”

There was an opportunity for Bootleg to reopen in August 2020, but it was financially unviable for the venue. The only reason, they said, that they could reopen to provide socially distanced gigs this year was due to the Arts Council Recovery Fund.

“We wouldn’t be here without it,” Stephen said, “it bought us through these times.”

Stephen said the pandemic was “devastating” for venues like themselves.

“We’re supporting these small bands and putting on grass roots gigs, it’s not profit-making, we do it for a love. I’ve worked bootleg for the last six or seven years and it’s literally a passion project, its something we do for love, not money or profit.”

Bootleg Social

Bootleg Social

Now, thanks to the National Lottery Revive Live tour, Bootleg Social have a packed calendar for the rest of the year.

The National Lottery has partnered with leading UK charity Music Venue Trust with a unique initiative to help revive the UK’s live music sector. They are contributing £1M to ‘directly underwrite the touring and production costs of over 300 live performances this summer, enabling the grassroots live music industry to start promoting shows again in the knowledge that the upfront costs associated with touring are covered.’

Stephen said: “Its a national incentive of loads of bands that want to try and get back on the road and help small venues by putting on tours and bringing bands back on stage as soon as possible. These first few months of opening its been hard to book big names as no one knows what is happening”

Bootleg are selling tickets for half the venue capacity, for anyone who buys a ticket they can bring in a friend for free, as long as they have purchased a national lottery item such as a scratch card or lottery ticket, and show evidence of that purchase.

Stephen said it was “a cool little incentive” that helps “everyone get back into a place where shows are viable, which is amazing.”

There are three National Lottery Revive Live tours at the venue in the next month. On September 7, Pizzagirl is performing. September 11 sees Little Comets take the stage, and on September 21 Apollo Junction will play.

Bootleg Social is also hosting a tonne of gigs throughout the month and those looking for a night out, worlds away from the stag dos of Blackpool should check out their line up.

Blackpool hotel and bar up for grabs at auction

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

The bar is close to Blackpool North train station in the northern quarter

 

R-Bar in Blackpool up for auction
R-Bar in Blackpool up for auction (Image: Pattison Auction)

A new and exciting opportunity to own a bar has come up for £250,000.

The bar, in Blackpool, also comes with a nine-bedroom hotel and is being sold by auction at a starting price of £250,000.

The property is situated in the heart of Blackpool’s northern quarter on Lord Street.

R-Bar has been operated as a bar and entertainment venue for a number of years and has a 1,033sqf main bar with concealed lighting, fitted bar, pumps and a range of optics.

Being auctioned by Pattinson Auction it is described as having a separate stage area, alcove seating and kitchen with a range of catering equipment to cater for all guests.

Christine’s Hotel also has seven to nine bedrooms which are all en-suite as well as a self-contained flat which includes an open plan lounge and kitchen, double ensuite bathroom and hallway.

Outside you will find a car park to the front with space for two to three vehicles and an enclosed licensed seating area to the side of the property with a canopy cover.

At the back of the building, there is a yard. There is also a self-contained flat which is on a shorthand tenancy of £340pcm.

The building has a mixed-use status of bar, hotel and bistro.

Viewing is highly recommended.

For further information please contact Pattinson Auction’s office direct on 0191 737 1154, or alternatively via e-mail at commercial@pattinson.co.uk. With regards to viewing the subject property, this is to be done strictly by appointment through Keith Pattinson Commercial department. Please contact them to arrange an internal inspection, or to register your interest.

 

Blackpool’s latest cocktail bar and where it’s set to open

LancsLive - Latest news, sport, business and more from Lancashire

Blackpool’s latest watering hole is set to open in the shadow of Blackpool Tower

 

Victoria Steet, Blackpool, where the cocktail bar is set to open
Victoria Steet, Blackpool, where the cocktail bar is set to open (Image: Google)

A former Blackpool clothes shop is set for a new lease of life as a cocktail bar.

Plans have been lodged with Blackpool Council to convert the store at 73 Victoria Street, in the town centre, into licensed premises aiming to serve cocktails, specialist gins and craft ale.

Blackburn-based Angeline Richardson, who has lodged the proposals for the unit previously occupied by the Stawberry Moon fashion store, says she wants to create a venue aimed at the over 25s.

In a planning statement accompanying the application, she says: “We have found that customers over 30 struggle to find a good place to go out that is not full of younger people because of drink promotions etc.

“Inside the bar will be decorated to a high standard and door supervisors will be employed and advised to challenge anyone who is lucky enough to look under 25.”

Angeline and her husband, who already operate three bars including in and around Lancashire, hope to sell locally produced gins and ales.

She adds: “We know that Blackpool already has several party bars that cater for hen and stags but this is not the market we are going for.

“We have visited a lot of bars and clubs in the area and feel that there is a gap in the market for something a bit more upmarket where people can sit, relax have a drink and chat with friends.”

The family run business hopes to recruit up to 10 members of staff if the venture gets the go ahead.

The application will now go before town hall planners at a future date for consideration.

 

Cleveleys Sports Bar temporarily banned from serving booze after opening without licence

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A new sports bar in Cleveleys has been temporarily banned from serving alcohol until it is granted a license by councillors.

 

RJ's Bar owners John Sherwood and Rob Hopkinson with manager Sarah-Jayne Coop. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

RJ’s Bar owners John Sherwood and Rob Hopkinson with manager Sarah-Jayne Coop. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

RJ’s Bar, which opened in the old Pizza Hut on the Prom in Cleveleys, was visited by officials the day after opening without a proper licence on Wednesday – and told to stop selling beer.

The venue now faces a wait to see if councillors agree to grant permission later this month – after owners John Sherwood and Rob Hopkinsons’ bid was hit by objections.

Wyre Council said “a number of objections” had been lodged amid concerns about noise.

Manager Sarah-Jayne Coop said the atmosphere was “buzzing” when the bar first opened the day before a consultation period on its licence bid ended.

Had no objections been received, a licence could have been granted the next day but now the issue must be discussed at a meeting.

The venue can still serve soft drinks and food, but booze is off the menu for the time-being.

“We knew there had been two objections but one was withdrawn,” Sarah-Jayne said.

“We hadn’t heard anything more about the complaint from the council before we opened so we assumed they’d sorted it. I am applying for a temporary events licence and in the meantime we can still serve food and soft drinks.

“We have put absolutely everything into opening this business and have families to support.”

Sarah-Jayne added: “Maybe I did open up wrongly on Wednesday but you’d have thought that, by September 1 when we hadn’t heard anything, the council would have contacted us as a matter of urgency telling us not to open.

“We’ve worked with the licensing police and environmental health and they were fine with the licensing terms, which we changed in order to clear up the complaints.

“The licensing police even came past when we opened and didn’t shut us down – and when they came in on Thursday they knew we were open. We’ve since been told by licensing police that customers can bring their own alcohol into the building with them, and as long as they can prove it wasn’t purchased on-site they can drink it here.”

A council spokesman said: “We have received a number of objections to the granting of a license and as a result the matter is due to go to the licensing committee on Monday, September 27.”

 

RJ’s Sports Bar in Cleveleys celebrates opening day

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A new establishment in Cleveleys has opened its doors to the public after it took over the former Pizza Hut building during lockdown.

 

RJ’s Bar on North Promenade in Cleveleys opened in the former Pizza Hut restaurant for the first time yesterday (Wednesday September 1).

Pizza Hut moved onto the Jubilee Park site, which also hosts the Jubilee Park pub, JD Gym and VUE cinema, back in 2006 – but it became one of Covid’s casualties when bosses announced it would close permanently during lockdown.

New owners John Sherwood and Rob Hopkinson started working on the building earlier this year, and have now transformed it into RJ’s – a “family-friendly sports bar.”

RJ's Bar owners John Sherwood and Rob Hopkinson with manager Sarah-Jayne Coop. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

RJ’s Bar owners John Sherwood and Rob Hopkinson with manager Sarah-Jayne Coop. Pic: Daniel Martino/JPI Media

Manager Sarah-Jayne Coop said she “couldn’t wait” to open RJ’s to families as well as sports fans, with a bar menu available all day for youngsters and grown-ups alike.

She explained that the business’ ethos was to promote sustainability, and integrate itself into the local community.

“Sustainability is important to us, especially with us being near the sea,” she said.

“We’re very much about the local community, we all live in Cleveleys and we really want to orientate the business for the people who live here.

 

New bar planned for site in Blackpool town centre

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A former Blackpool clothes store could be set for a new lease of life as a cocktail bar.

 

Town hall planners will consider the application

Town hall planners will consider the application

Plans have been submitted to the council to convert a store on Victoria Street in the town centre into licensed premises aiming to serve cocktails, specialist gins and craft ale.

Blackburn-based Angeline Richardson, who has lodged the proposals for the unit previously occupied by the Stawberry Moon fashion store, says she wants to create a venue aimed at the over 25s.

In a planning statement accompanying the application, she says: “We have found that customers over 30 struggle to find a good place to go out that is not full of younger people because of drink promotions etc.

Angeline and her husband, who already operate three bars including in and around Lancashire, hope to sell locally produced gins and ales.

She adds: “We know that Blackpool already has several party bars that cater for hen and stags but this is not the market we are going for.

“We have visited a lot of bars and clubs in the area and feel that there is a gap in the market for something a bit more upmarket where people can sit, relax have a drink and chat with friends.”

The family run business hopes to recruit up to 10 members of staff if the venture gets the go ahead.

The application will now go before town hall planners at a future date for consideration.