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Agenda item

Tabac Cafe, 45 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QL - New premises licence


The Licensing Officer introduced all parties to the application, which was for a new premises license under the Licensing Act 2003. The License was to allow on sales of alcohol, on the premises only, between Midday and 23:00 on Sunday to Thursday and midday until 23:30 Friday and Saturdays. 


The applicant had agreed conditions with the Metropolitan Police and the Council’s Noise Team, so those representations were withdrawn, and conditions agreed were included in the operating schedule. Three residents made a representation. It was highlighted that following a letter from the applicant to those who made representations, one representation was withdrawn.


A local resident who objected to the license informed the Licensing Sub-Committee that the premises had previously been a barber’s and the change of use to a bar could mean that nearly 30% of premises on the street were licensed. There had been an increase in vertical drinking in the area and the premises would add to an existing problem. The resident asked for clarity around the patron numbers as it appeared to be too small a space for the capacity stated by the applicant.


The resident also felt there was overcrowding on the pavement outside which he said was narrow and had little space to walk on. There was concern that if customers were not seated they would spill out into the street. It was highlighted that to have seating outside of the premises a pavement license would be required.


The Sub-Committee considered whether the resident had spoken to other businesses. The resident felt an increase in drinking on the street had been allowed and less monitoring was being carried out since Covid-19. 


The applicant explained they wished to share their French culture and provide somewhere customers could relax and work in the day and have a glass of French wine or a cocktail whilst listening to casual, ambient music after work. There would be no late-night refreshment or entertainment.


The number of customers had been reduced from 30-40 to ensure all customers could have seated table service and the capacity outside would be around 6-8 seats. There had been consultation with neighbours to ensure they were happy with the road access and access to their homes.


The applicant felt there had been more public nuisance since lockdown, but they would be providing high quality products and would not promote a culture of drunkenness. They did not want a bar, and their policy would include having water on tables. Following consultation with the police and environmental health they had agreed to reduced hours to help stagger the times people left the area. This would help avoid loitering and reduce noise. 


Following questions from the Sub-Committee the applicant explained they would have an open-door policy and had sent a letter to the whole street introducing themselves and providing their contact details. They would have 4-5 staff members on site each day, and the premises owners had experience of running corporate to independent bars so would create a training manual for their staff.  They expected to have a capacity of 25-30 patrons but did not have firm numbers. 


In summary, the resident asked whether the 3-4 members of staff would include the two owners; whether the seating arrangements would be fire safety compliant and emphasised that a license for outside seating would be required. The applicants explained it would be 4-5 staff total, including themselves and, they would apply for a pavement license. They emphasised they wanted the premises to be a café that felt like a living room for the community.


The Chair informed those present that the legal advisor would inform them if any legal advice was provided during the decision making.



The Sub-Committee decided to grant the application for a new premises licence in respect of Tabac Cafe, 45 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QL to allow the sale of alcohol on the premises only between noon and 11pm Sunday to Thursday and noon until 11.30 pm Friday and Saturday.


Conditions detailed on pages 168 to 171 of the agenda shall be applied to the licence. Condition 21 to be amended to read - Alcohol shall be supplied to customers who are seated and is served ancillary to food.



This meeting was facilitated by Zoom. The Sub-Committee listened to all the evidence and submissions and read all the material. The Sub-Committee reached the decision having given consideration to the Licensing Act 2003, as amended, and its regulations, the national guidance and the Council’s Licensing Policy.


The Sub-Committee took into consideration Licensing Policies 2 & 3. The premises fall within the Clerkenwell cumulative impact area. Licensing policy 3 creates a rebuttable presumption that applications for the grant or variation of premises licences which are likely to add to the existing cumulative impact will normally be refused following the receipt of representations, unless the applicant can demonstrate in the operating schedule that there will be no negative cumulative impact on one or more of the licensing objectives.


The application was for a new licence (on sales only) in what was described by the applicant as a traditional French Café with tables and chairs.


Three local residents submitted written submissions, one of which attended the hearing and made oral submissions.


There had been no representations made by the responsible authorities. Conditions had been agreed with the Noise Team and the Police.


The Sub-Committee noted that the applicant had engaged with residents. The Sub-Committee noted the concerns of residents regarding numbers and specifically fears of customers standing around outside the area drinking.


The Sub-Committee decided it was proportionate to include the condition “Alcohol shall be supplied to customers who are seated and is served ancillary to food” in order to promote the licensing objectives and not add to the cumulative impact.


The Sub-Committee noted that the hours sought were within the hours specified in licensing policy 6.

The Sub-Committee was satisfied that the proposed use, with the extensive conditions agreed and added, meant that the premises would not add to the cumulative impact.


The Sub-Committee was satisfied that granting the premises licence was proportionate and appropriate to the promotion of the licensing objectives.

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