Pricey beer ‘will put off street drinkers’

Walthamstow burger joint selling £22.50 beers says late-night licence will not encourage street drinking, reports Victoria Munro, Local Democracy Reporter

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash
Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

A burger restaurant that hopes to sell alcohol until 1am on weekends insists its high prices will put street drinkers off.

Beer + Burger’s co-owner Johnathan Perritt told Waltham Forest Council’s licensing committee on Monday that one of its craft beers costs £22.50 a bottle.

The application is for Hoe Street in Walthamstow but he described the restaurant, which has branches in Kings Cross, Dalston and Willesden Green, as a “small independent business” offering “a high-quality food and drink experience”.

The committee received eight written objections from neighbours, who fear the late hours will mean more people “street drinking, [taking] drugs and using the alleyway as a toilet”.

Johnathan told the committee he was keen to “point out the differences” between Beer + Burger and other businesses selling burgers across London.

He said: “We are a food-led business – the name perhaps suggests a 50/50 split – but we are a restaurant and the way we operate reflects that. I do not categorise us as fast food.

“The cheapest beer you can buy in our store is a can for about £4.50. Our most expensive beer is £22.50 for a bottle but the reason for that is it has been beautifully manufactured. 

“That’s why we are really confident we do not attract people that can easily go to a corner store and buy a four-pack of beer for four or five pounds. This is not somewhere people would come and drink pints and pints of beer.”

Responding to the concern that the store was contributing to the high concentration of unhealthy food outlets in Hoe Street, he added that they use “the very leanest” meat.

He said: “I would reject that particular claim, that we are going to be unhealthy for the neighbourhood. I think we are one of the healthiest options in our category.”

One neighbour, Khushnood Awan, wrote to the committee arguing that granting the licence would “not provide any more value to this area but simply aggravate local residents”.

He wrote: “Beer is already available at the [neighbouring] Express Supermarket and burgers can be purchased a few minutes’ walk from here.

“[This licence] will lead to an increase in noise levels, as well as reduced security for residents of Leamington Avenue.

“Some people, who currently buy beer at the Express Supermarket, then go to the alleyway at the rear to urinate… selling more beer next door will simply add to this problem.

“There will be an increase in traffic congestion on this road from potential visitors and parking our cars will become even more difficult.”

Beer + Burger has applied to open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and 11pm the rest of the week, also selling alcohol and playing background music until these hours.

The licensing committee will make its decision whether to grant or reject the application by 14th June.