LondonNet News Headlines
08/11/01
All Night Opening for Pubs on New Year's Eve
- Licensing laws to be lifted for end of year celebrations

NEW YEAR'S EVE drinkers won't be assailed with party-pooping phrases like "all glasses to the bar staff" at ten past midnight on December 31, after the government announced it would temporarily relax alcohol licensing laws.

Pubs will get the go-ahead to stay open from 11 o'clock on New Year's Eve morning until 11 o'clock New Year's Day night, a measure that, although temporary, is seen as another move to the eventual wholesale abandonment of Britain's antiquated and strict licensing system.

Earlier this week, plans were revealed to let pubs open as early as 5 and 6 o'clock in the morning during the football World Cup next summer.

In the end, perhaps by 2003, pubs in England and Wales are likely to operate under a similar regime to that already in place in Scotland and, of course, much of the rest of the world.

In one sense, the government's moves are a case of locking the stable door after the horse has bolted because many bars use the food loophole in the law to stay open longer. If an establishment serves food, it is usually governed under more enlightened licensing rules - one of the reasons for the recent growth in the hybrid bar-restaurant scene.




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