Innsatiable: controversial "free bar" in Surrey applies for premises licence

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Premises licence Surrey Simon atkins

Controversial venue: Innsatiable had caused uproar for "giving away" free alcohol to the public and selling beer mats for £2.75
Controversial venue: Innsatiable had caused uproar for "giving away" free alcohol to the public and selling beer mats for £2.75
The owner of controversial Surrey “furniture shop” Innsatiable “is in the process of applying for a premises licence”, the PMA can exclusively reveal.

The news comes as Simon Atkins confirmed he has signed off on further Innsatiable sites in Chichester, Winchester, Bournemouth, Southampton and Guildford, all to be open before the end of November.

He added that he is set to franchise the business out to retail outlets in London and across the north of England, possibly from the end of this year.

Innsatiable has caused uproar among licensees and pub industry trade bodies because it offers free alcohol to customers before inviting them to “support the business” by buying beermats for £2.75.

Local MP and health secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote to the minister in charge of licensing, Jeremy Browne MP, asking him to look into the “legal loophole” which had allowed Atkins to operate without an alcohol licence.

However, Atkins has now applied for a premises licence, saying he wants to “offer consumers an alternative to the large pub company and brewery dominated landscape of Britain’s drinks industry”.

The application is for alcohol sales from 10.00-01.00 Monday to Saturday, and 10.00-23.00 on a Sunday; recorded music from 12.00-00.00 Monday to Saturday, and 12.00-23.00 Sunday; and live music 19.00-00.00 Monday to Thursday, and 12.00-23.00 Sunday.

Atkins said: “There is no denying that Innsatiable has gained notoriety largely from its status as an unlicensed venue operating a free bar.

“Despite rumours to the contrary however, Innsatiable’s unlicensed status is not because we wish to be ‘unfair’, ‘fly by night’ or ‘another nail in the coffin of the pub trade’.

“With this (premises licence), Innsatiable will show the greedy cartel of big brewery/pub company owned premises’ that they will not continue to control and set the over-inflated prices that the consumer currently pays for Britain’s favourite tipple.”

On the new openings, Atkins added: “They will all be open this year. We aim to open Chichester and Winchester at the end of October, and Bournemouth, Southampton and Guildford by the end of November.

“All the franchises start across London in January and the franchises in the north, in Coventry, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham and Newcastle start potentially at the end of the year.

“We have two main guys who have bought all the franchises across those areas: one man who is taking the lot across London, one man who is taking it to those cities.

“Over the next two or three weeks we will disclose who the actual investors in the company are, which will amaze a lot of people.”

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