Holloway Road pre-match drinking venue for Arsenal fans in battle for licence

Arsenal fans in the stands at the Emirates during the north London derby. Picture: PA

Arsenal fans in the stands at the Emirates during the north London derby. Picture: PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

A popular pre-match drinking venue for Arsenal fans is facing a battle to secure its licence – because it shouldn’t be operating as a bar on matchdays.

Islington Sports Bar and Grill was a welcome addition to the Holloway Road for football fans when it opened late last year. But because its existing licence was for a restaurant, and not a drinking establishment, it needed to apply for temporary licences whenever it wanted to operate as a bar. Islington Council's licensing officers found it was not always the case, and it was operating illegally when Arsenal played Manchester United in March.

On Tuesday councillors will decide whether or not to grant it a full premise licence.

More than 1,500 people have signed a petition backing the bar, while a couple of neighbours have objected over noise.

One fan said: "It's a wonderful place and I also take my two children there. There is always a lovely atmosphere and good affordable food and drinks."


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