Soho is known for its gems, some hidden and others less so. London’s hive of entertainment is for some late night paradise but for others a nightmare of ‘Magaluf on steroids’.
And nowhere is this point of disagreement more visible than objections raised by residents in licensing applications for late night establishments.
The New Evaristo Club, known as Trisha’s, could become the latest casualty in the warfare between businesses and locals.
Celebrities such as Amy Winehouse are among figures to have loved the ‘speakeasy’ club that could now be forced to close its doors following reports of noise and overcrowding.
Such complaints it would appear have now been upheld by the Westminster Council’s licensing authority.
In a letter calling for the club’s license to be reviewed and revoked, city inspectors said the venue had repeatedly shown ‘disregard for the importance of complying with licensing regulations’ and that it was unlikely to start complying in the future.
It wrote: “Since February 2023 Police Licensing and City Inspectors have tried on several occasions to work with the management of the premises to ensure compliance with the conditions of their premises licence.
“Some temporary improvements have been made, however there has been no consistency in following licence conditions.
“The management of the club have repeatedly demonstrated a disregard for the importance of compliance with their licence conditions and promotion of the licensing objectives.
“I have no confidence that this is likely to change in the future.”
Trisha’s has operated in the basement of 57 Greek Street for over 80 years, the last 20 under the management of nurse turned owner Patricia Bergonzi.
Several breaches of licensing conditions were uncovered during a number of visits to the premises by inspectors and police, including no evidence of control of people entering the bar and a lack of available CCTV footage.
The application form went on to conclude that adhering to regulations is ‘a very low priority’ for the venue’s management.
It said: “The addition of new conditions to the premises licence is unlikely to be effective in addressing the problems associated with the operation of these premises.
“It is hard to avoid the conclusion that this establishment is very poorly run. The management and staff have consistently demonstrated a disregard for the Licensing Act, the premises licence and the conditions attached to it.
“Compliance with licensing regulations appears to be very low priority for the licence holder and her staff and she has demonstrably failed in her responsibility to manage the premises so as to ensure compliance with the law and the licensing objectives.”
Addressing concerns that Soho could soon lose an iconic venue, the Council said it had to balance the night time economy with the need to ensure businesses run safely.
Aisha Less, the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Protection, said: “Westminster City Council values the vibrant nightlife and unique heritage of Soho, but we also have a responsibility to protect the public and ensure all licensed venues operate legally, safely, and within the conditions of their licence.
“We work closely with owners and managers of licensed premises and provide support to ensure that they are complying with their licence agreements. However, following a council investigation and a series of complaints from residents and patrons, we have applied a review of this premise’s licence.
“A licensing sub-committee will consider the evidence and decide what action, if any, will be taken, and it would not be appropriate to comment further while the review is ongoing.”
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