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Hard Rock Café Granted Stand-alone Bar licence as Exception to Westminster’s Stress Policy

Gary Grant

Hard Rock Café’s international flagship store at Piccadilly Circus, London has been granted a new premises licence to include, for the first time, a stand-alone bar where all customers (both diners and non-diners) can enjoy a drink whilst absorbing the iconic surroundings.

The Hard Rock began in 1971 with the opening of their first branch in Old Park Lane in London. The original still operates.  It was the favourite haunt of a young musician who had his favourite seat at the bar. To secure his seat, he asked staff to hang his guitar on the wall above it. He was Eric Clapton. A friend, not to be outdone, did the same. He was Pete Townsend of The Who. Today, over 220 Hard Rock Cafés around the world, display some 80,000 pieces of rock memorabilia. They have sold over 125,000,000 of their famous branded T-Shirts and now employ nearly 40,000 staff. 

Their flagship store in Piccadilly Circus opened in July 2019 but their original licence had a full restaurant condition and the bar could only be used by diners.

A new premises licence application was made to permit the bar to be used by all-comers, diners and non-diners. The application had to overcome Westminster Council’s strict cumulative impact (or stress) policy that requires exceptional circumstances before permitting a restaurant licence to be relaxed to permit a bar operation. 
That application was granted, as an exception to policy, following a remote hearing before the licensing sub-committee held on 23 July 2020.

Gary Grant acted for the Hard Rock Café instructed by Niall McCann, Consultant Solicitor at Joelson JD LLP.