London pub slows service to cut after-work drinking


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A London pub has been left with no option but to serve customers more slowly in order to keep down growing numbers of after-work drinkers.

Tracy Bird, landlady of The Newman Arms in Fitzrovia, suggested the solution during a mediation meeting with Westminster City Council in September after being approached by licensing officers. But she was surprised when her "tongue-in-cheek" proposal was taken seriously and included on a list of measures to which her pub must adhere to avoid a licence review.

The pub has also had to close its upstairs dining room on its busiest days in order to accommodate more standing drinkers indoors during the after work-rush, which has caused it to lose up to £1,000 a night.

Ms Bird has launched a petition to encourage an alternative solution to the problem of outdoor drinking in the area, which has already led to licence reviews at other nearby pubs.

"We're thinking about street sharing – where they remove curbs, railings and people aren't restricted. Or 10 hours a week when cars aren't allowed through, where we could have street theatre and dancing."

A Westminster City Council spokesman said: "Staff at the Newman Arms are free to serve drinks at whatever pace they choose."