Popular Bristol pub to reopen after new landlords granted premises licence

The Black Cat in Bedminster is reopening after a period of closureThe Black Cat in Bedminster is reopening after a period of closure
The Black Cat in Bedminster is reopening after a period of closure | Google
The pub has been shut for several weeks after the previous premises licence elapsed

A popular Bedminster pub will reopen soon after its new landlords were granted a premises licence weeks after it had to close.

The Black Cat on West Street was one of four pubs in Bedminster to suddenly shut its doors last March, before briefly reopening again this spring.

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The Black Cat has been taken over by Caroline Hicks and Darren Godfrey who said they were planning to potentially reopen this Saturday, August 26. The pair were granted a new licence from Bristol City Council during a hearing.

The pub, which offered pints for just £3, has been shut for several weeks after the previous premises licence elapsed. The new landlords then had to apply for another licence from the council before being allowed to reopen.

During the licensing hearing, Ms Hicks said: “We’ve tried our best to open a community pub and change it for the better. We’ve spent a lot of money in there, we’ve decorated and done the toilets, we’ve worked really hard to work with the police and health and safety. We’ve spoken to local residents and we’ve tried everything that we can.

“The Black Cat has been there for 120 years. It’s a community pub and there’s not many left. I just want to save it, I fell in love with it the minute I went in there. When I’ve seen the locals coming in from Knowle, Bedminster, I love them. I love every one of them and I’ve looked after them.”

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Mr Godfrey added: “I used to run pubs years ago. We just want to get this community pub open, with a bit of live music, things for charity fundraisers. I’ve had quite a lot of experience running a pub. To be shut for nine weeks now has put a lot on our shoulders.”

The pub will be allowed to serve alcohol until 12am from Thursday to Sunday, and 11pm from Monday to Wednesday, while music can be played until 12am on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 11pm the rest of the week. One concern, however, among local residents was historic problems at the Black Cat with noisy customers late at night.

Conservative Councillor Richard Eddy, chair of the committee, said: “There have been problems at this pub for a long, long time, partly reflecting the fact that the previous licence was old fashioned. It had very little teeth to allow licensing staff or the police to take action. That’s not the case with this new licence.”

The new licence restricts things like noise levels and smoking outdoors, to address the concerns from some local residents about noisy customers causing a nuisance late at night. Old licences granted by magistrates, before local councils took power over licensing two decades ago, tend to have relatively few conditions allowing pubs more freedom compared to newer licences.

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Ms Hicks said: “We go outside and monitor the noise, we’ve got a noise monitoring book that we write everything in, and we’ve had more cameras put up outside and inside. We’ve been around and spoke to the neighbours.”

The Black Cat shut suddenly at the end of March alongside three other pubs in Bedminster: the Albert Lounge, the London Inn and the Tap and Barrel. The previous landlord blamed the cost of living crisis for the closures, but all four pubs will now be back up and running.

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