Court upholds Efes’ appeal against stripped licence but drastically cuts its hours

The Efes Snooker Club at 17 Stoke Newington Road.

The Efes Snooker Club at 17 Stoke Newington Road. - Credit: Archant

Owners of Efes late night pool club, popular with celebrities like Peaches Geldof, Alexa Chung and Kelly Osborne, have vowed to challenge the decision to cut its hours in the High Court.

The Efes Snooker Club at 17 Stoke Newington Road.

The Efes Snooker Club at 17 Stoke Newington Road. - Credit: Archant

The trendy clientele of Efes in Stoke Newington Road, Dalston, were up in arms in February when Hackney Council’s licensing committee stripped it of its licence after police branded it a “crime generator”.

Owner Yasar Akin appealed the decision through the magistrate’s court and although this was upheld last week, the pool club’s hours were drastically cut from 4am Thursday to Saturday to 1.30am, and 3am Sunday to Wednesday to 12.30am.

Until the decision was made last week the club had been operating at its usual hours.

Sgt Guy Hicks said the decision sent a strong message to other Dalston venue managers that poor management and lack of engagement with the authorities will have consequences.

“Whilst revocation was our original aim when the review was first taken out the venue’s behaviour since does not warrant full revocation,” he said.

“The curtailing of licensing hours will be very welcome to the residents of Dalston who suffer the consequences of late opening, irresponsibly run venues.”

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But Mr Akin’s son Engin who manages the premises is hopeful the High Court will overturn the magistrate’s court’s decision.

“I reckon this is very unfair because we had a very strong case,” he said.

“From day one when we lost the licence, I said I’m going to take this to the High Court. Maybe it will cost a fortune, but this business is well run and never has any trouble. It’s fun and there’s a good atmosphere here.”

Mr Akin fears cutting the hours could be the nail in the coffin for the club.

“Everyone is used to it being a late place until 4am, people come here to play pool and enjoy it,” he said.

“Last week it was very quiet, why would people come here to play until 12pm, they will go somewhere else.

“It’s a free entry place, we only charge £1 a game of pool, how am I going to survive here?” he asked.

An appeal could take between three months to a year.

Police asked Hackney Council’s licensing sub-committee to remove the club’s licence after continuous problems at the venue.

Many residents wrote to the committee alleging the venue was run more like a nightclub than a pool bar, and was the focus of local nuisance and disorder.

In a report, Sgt Guy Hicks said the club had come to the attention of police after it opened without a licence in 2008, and in 2010 police intelligence suggested it had links to gangs.

Habitual breaches of the premises licence included inadequate numbers of security staff, no staff training in crime prevention, no hourly checks on toilets, music played too loud as well as allowing entry once the club was meant to be closed.