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

PUBLISHED: 12:37 25 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:37 25 June 2019

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

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.

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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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