A Northampton cafe, which council officers believe is operating as a light night bar, has been allowed to stay open as long as it applies for a new licence in the next two months.
Kass’s Grill, on Wellingborough Road, was reviewed by Northampton Borough Council licencing committee on Friday on grounds of public safety and public nuisance after reports that it was not open during the day, that it did not serve food, and was playing loud music late at night.
The venue, which opened in 2012 on the premises of a coffee shop, was originally registered as a cafe promoting grilled African meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner and with some occasional entertainment.
However, when police visited the venue last year, they said that there was no evidence that the kitchen was in use, that there was a DJ booth set up and that tables and chairs had been pushed to the sides of the room to allow for a “dance floor-like space”, suggesting that the cafe was actually being operated as a bar, thereby breaching its licence.
They also stated that it was not open before 12pm on two occasions and that they had received complaints from nearby residents about loud music being played late at night,
PC Dave Bryan said: “There are different categories for inspecting cafe and bar establishments and, had we known that Kass’s was being operated as a bar, we would have assessed it differently.”
But speaking at the hearing, owner Patrycja Barbara Wolinska, said she did not want to be a bar and said the cafe opened later in the day because her food was not a popular choice with customers in the morning and that, as the sole cook and bar operator, she needed to manage her time.
She added that the DJ booth was for safe-guarding technical equipment, that the “dance floor” space allowed her to access tables, and that she occasionally played loud music at night from her flat above the cafe to relax.
The licensing committee decided to allow the venue to stay open, provided that the owners apply for a new licence, declaring it as a late night bar, within the next 56 days and employ at least one member of door staff on Friday and Saturday nights.
Following the meeting, Northampton senior licensing officer, Louise Faulkner, said: “We will continue to work with the licence holders at Kass’s Grill to find the best way for them to proceed and will, in the future, assess them on the basis of being a late night bar venue.”