Shoreditch neighbours lash out at London Grace nail salon’s bid to sell cocktails and wine

London Grace customers having a cocktail while having their nails done at the Canary Wharf branch

London Grace customers having a cocktail while having their nails done at the Canary Wharf branch - Credit: London Grace

An upmarket nail salon in the Shoreditch triangle has applied for permission to sell wine and cocktails to its customers.

It has proved mildly controversial with neighbours, a handful of whom have submitted impassioned written responses to Hackney Council's planning permission. One said the area was already plagued with "drunkards being sick on the street, urinating in public, starting fights and openly doing drugs".

London Grace has moved to reassure them, telling the Gazette it has no plan to turn its new Rivington Street branch into a "full-on bar".

But Rivington Street is part of the Shoreditch Special Policy Area (SPA), where it is deemed the already high concentration of licensed premises has a negative impact, and that any further licences granted could exacerbate the problem.

The licensing committee is due to make a decision on Tuesday.

Neighbours say there are already too many people drinking on the street because it has been pedestrianised, and complained about the late licence given to the Bricklayers Arms.

In an official response to the consultation, one wrote: "Residents within the SPA are becoming increasingly concerned about the creep of bars from Shoreditch High Street into the policy area, and the recent approval of Rotate and a fast food outlet in the form of Butchies in Rivington Street, as pointing out that the council seems to have abandoned both its policy and also the residents in the area."

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But the council said new rules introduced in August did not mean a blanket ban on all new premises and each one would be considered on its own merits.

Director of London Grace, Lauren Williams told the Gazette: "It's not every day that you get a beauty brand applying for an alcohol licence and it's a bit different.

"Other businesses might apply for a licence saying it's going to be a shop or hairdresser's and turn it into a full-on bar, and some people might think we would follow suit. But we've never had the intention to turn it into a bar and the fact we have eight premises already should demonstrate that."

Although the online application asks for opening until 11pm on Thursday and Friday, she told the Gazette they would be sticking to the 8pm closing time, as per the retail planning consent. They will only be able to serve alcohol to customers having beauty treatments a single guest each.

Asked if they would go ahead with opening the shop next month if they were refused the licence, Ms Williams said: "That's quite a big 'what if'.

"It's not something we've come across so far, and in other areas with a high impact zone we've managed to get our licence. Once we explain our business model they can see it's not going to impact the area in any way."