‘Fighting, drugs and sex in cars’: Holloway nightclub’s ‘coffee shop’ rebrand doesn’t convince

The fomer People's Social Club premises in Holloway Road. Picture: Ken Mears

The fomer People's Social Club premises in Holloway Road. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A popular former nightclub hoping to rebrand itself as a coffee shop was tonight refused a new licence after neighbours protested against debauchery on their doorsteps.

The People’s Social Club, in Holloway Road, was shut by a district judge in May last year after police were called to the club on numerous occasions.

Agnes Hassan, wife of the club’s owner Bulent Hassan, applied to rebrand the club as a “coffee shop and cocktail bar” – a “daily necessity for coffee drinkers” that would also serve alcohol until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

But an Islington Council licensing sub committee tonight rejected the application following a two-hour town hall debate. At one point, the tension appeared to boil over when a council legal officer loudly ticked off a woman for standing up to fetch a glass of water.

Nikki Stewart, of the Furlong Road Residents’ Association, said homeowners and tenants regularly used to suffer the consequences of overspill from the nearby club.

“There’s a long history of crime, violence and public nuisance under their watch: partying in the road at all hours, shouting, fighting, drug taking, urinating and sex in cars.

“There are no safeguards in this application to prevent it from returning to the bad old days. Describing it as a coffee shop is disingenuous.”

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She added: “It’s worth noting that all the problems have stopped since it closed last May. We ask that you reject this to protect residents and ensure the integrity of council licensing policy.”

Richard Lister, of Crane Grove, also near to the premises, noted that the People’s Social Club has been holding “reunion” events in other locations in London since its closure last year.

“It seems it will be the permanent location for People’s Social Club reunions.

“We feel that with an alcohol licence from 8am-11pm, what’s actually being established is the same venue - only serving coffee.”

David Dadds, representing Mrs Hassan, said: “There’s been a lot of misrepresentation regarding the management. This application needs to be judged on its merits.

“This is not a nightclub. These are premises that will close at midnight. It’s a completely different clientele, and type of operation.”

He added the management would be “happy” for police to veto any events held in the function room.

But the committee decided to reject the application. Its reasons will be provided in writing within the next five days.