Last week the PMA exclusively revealed that the Newman Arms had agreed to slow down service and close its busy upstairs restaurant area, so more people could drink inside.
Licensee Tracy Bird feared a licence review if she didn’t comply with the council demands, aimed at reducing the number of drinkers spilling on to the street outside the Fitzrovia-based pub.
The council has now admitted it cannot dictate how quickly pub staff serve customers, and confirmed the Newman Arms will not lose its licence if it stops serving people slowly or doesn’t move people upstairs into the restaurant area.
In a statement, Councillor Audrey Lewis, licensing chairman at Westminster City Council, said: “Staff at the Newman Arms are free to serve drinks at whatever pace they choose. The idea to slow down service came entirely from the pub owner.
“While it might have been meant light-heartedly, all suggestions by the landlady were taken seriously by officers because we wanted to work with the owners of the pub to avoid a review of their licence.”
She added that customers taking up too much space on pavements is a safety concern because it forces pedestrians to walk into roads and puts them at risk of being struck by traffic.