Camden Passage salon first in country to serve booze with blow dries

A CAMDEN PASSAGE salon will become the first business of its type in the country to serve up glasses of bubbly with its blow dries after Islington Council controversially granted it a booze licence.

The Blow Bar, which opened in Islington’s famous antiques market in November, was yesterday given permission to sell alcohol to customers getting their hair done for a big night out.

Joint owner Emma Rees, 30, said; “It’s great news for us because we really wanted to differentiate ourselves from other hairdressers.

“There are quite a few places like this in the States and it’s growing, but there are no other blow dry bars over here that have alcohol licences.

“We’ve only been open a couple of months but we’ve had a great response form clients already. We get everything from young 21-year-old girls coming in to get ready for a big night to businesswoman who come back every week for a blow dry before a big meeting.

“This will allow us to offer people a drink while we do their hair, but the longest that someone is with us is 45 minutes or an hour so there will only be enough time for one cocktail or glass of wine.

Ms Rees added: “Camden Passage has such a charm about it. People come to Islington to visit Camden Passage’s vintage antique and jewellery shops and it’s a really happening place for us to start this exciting new business.”

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The Blow Bar initially applied to serve alcohol until 10pm but agreed to cut that back to 8pm at yesterday’s meeting. The licensing committee added a condition which means the alcohol licence only applies as long as the premises remains a hairdressing salon. But the Passage’s antiques specialists are still disappointed.

Janet Holdsworth from Turn On, said; “I’m not against The Blow Bar and I really do want to see it thriving, but our concern is that it sets a precedent and opens the floodgates to other businesses.

“What’s to stop the nail bars and the dress shops in the market applying for alcohol licences now?

“All of us could increase our turnover by selling alcohol but what would that mean for the Passage?

“As the residents who live here and the street cleaners who have to clean up the vomit will tell you, there are enough bars around here already.”