Barbershop told to stop giving out free booze as part of haircut experience in Northampton

The Gentleman's Quarters barber shop
The Gentleman's Quarters barber shop

Last orders has been called at a barbershop in Northampton after authorities order them to stop handing out free beer because they don't have an alcohol licence.

The Gentleman's Quarters owns a barbershop in St James but has recently been told by environmental health to stop giving out free pints of beer, which the owner has slammed "unfair."

Barber told to stop giving out free booze as part of haircut experience in Northampton

Barber told to stop giving out free booze as part of haircut experience in Northampton

Owner, Jake Hillery said his shop serves mainly older gentleman and they hand out free beers to customers mostly on Saturday's as a "gimmick."

He said: "I was contacted by the council demanding me to stop handing out free beer in Northampton and Wellingborough.

"I think it is really unfair as I do not make a penny on beers, I just hand them out so guys can relax have a hair cut."

The owner is set to open a new men's salon on Park Road in Wellingborough on April 5 but was called by a worker from the Borough Council of Wellingborough after he saw a video on Jake's Facebook page highlighting the free booze giveaway.

A barber working in the shop

A barber working in the shop

Jake got in touch with the Chron after he saw the same thing had happened to a pair of hairdressers in Dorset and claims he has friends in other towns that hand out the odd bottle of beer to paying customers as opposed to a hot drink.

He added: "My barber shop is a similar place to the barber shop in Poole. We mainly deal with the older gentleman and we hand out free beers and shots to customers.

"I have received a call saying I need to buy a licence and that they [environmental health] would check up on me to see if I am still handing out free beers."

A spokesman for the Borough Council of Wellingborough said: "Following receipt of information, a borough council officer made contact with Mr Hillery regarding an advert for his forthcoming barbershop in Wellingborough.

"The Facebook advert clearly stated that beer was going to be made available for customers while they waited for a haircut.

"The council officer discussed with him the provision of alcohol in such circumstances and advised that if the alcohol was in any way linked to a transaction, and not demonstrably free, then it was a licensable activity, and as such a premises licence would be required.

"During these discussions, Mr Hillery confirmed the provision of alcohol was intended to be part of a transaction for a haircut.

"Mr Hillery was given advice on applying for a premises licence to permit the retail sale of alcohol and has since made further enquiries with the council about this."

The general test adopted by local authorities is if a member of the public can walk into a premise and obtain an alcoholic drink without making any payment, and with no obligation whatsoever to buy a ticket or pay for a service, such as a haircut, then this would not require a licence.

However, if the expectation is that the member of the public would make some payment, directly or indirectly, to cover the service provided and the cost of the alcoholic drink, this would require a premises licence.