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Licensee takes award-winning gastropub to the park

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Top gong: the Red Lion & Sun took home the title of the best pub in the country at the 2018 Great British Pub Awards
Top gong: the Red Lion & Sun took home the title of the best pub in the country at the 2018 Great British Pub Awards

Related tags: Coronavirus

Heath Ball, operator of the Red Lion & Sun in Highgate, north London, is delivering drinks to customers in a local park in a bid to reach more people and become ‘London’s largest beer garden’.

Starting last weekend (30 and 31 May), the pub, which won Great British Pub of the Year in 2018, delivered to the neighbouring Waterlow Park with customers able to order a wide range of wines and beers, including the Ultimate Provence Rosé in a chilled bag.

Ball received more than £500 worth of orders for deliveries over last weekend. Payments are made over the phone and drinks delivered via e-bike to the dedicated drop off location.

Promoting the pub

He said: “Since the start of lockdown, my goal has been twofold – to keep my staff in jobs and to continue to provide to our loyal customer base.

“Deliveries have helped us reach a larger customer base and at the same time, it helps promote the pub.”

Licensed solicitors Poppleston Allen has advised operators can legally provide off-sales in sealed or open containers from their premises for customers to take away and drink elsewhere if the licensee has the necessary off-sales permission on their licence, with no further restrictions.

This will be stated on the premises licence and operators should check the times and days permitted, and review any conditions that might be relevant.

Social responsibility

When it comes to whether operators are responsible for the behaviour of customers who lawfully buy drinks to take away but then congregate elsewhere in a way to be breaching regulations or social distancing guidelines somewhere away from the pub, the licensing experts hoped operators would take a common-sense approach.

Poppleston Allen said it hoped licensees would promote and encourage social responsibility of customers (as within the existing Licensing Act responsibilities) and that it would not be expected that customers are asked to confirm where they intend to take the alcohol to.

If, however, off-sales are made in open containers, it might be reasonable to consider where the customer is going to consume the alcohol. Enforcement could be used under the Licensing Act 203 and the Coronavirus Regulations.

Related topics: Wine, UnitedWeStand, Licensing law

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