Sheffield music bar counting £25,000 cost of licensing mix-up

Mulberry Tavern owner Dominic Poole outside the venue
Mulberry Tavern owner Dominic Poole outside the venue
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The owner of a thriving music bar in Sheffield is counting the £25,000 cost of a licensing mix-up he says nearly drove him out of business.

The Mulberry Tavern, in the city centre, was closed on Tuesday after Sheffield Council's licensing team turned up out of the blue that afternoon and said it lacked the necessary licence, according to owner Dominic Poole.

He says the landlord dissolved one of his companies over a year ago and forgot to change the name on the venue's licence, but the error only recently came to the notice of the council which was left with no choice but to order the bar's closure.

The popular music venue has remained closed since and a sold-out gig by Ska legends Bad Manner tonight (Friday, July 14) was switched at the 11th hour to The Embassy on Mansfield Road, Intake.

However, the bar has secured temporary event notices to open for a number of other gigs, including over the Tramlines weekend - its busiest time of the year, with 50 acts scheduled over the three days. It said alcohol will be on sale at those events.

But some events have had to be cancelled or rearranged until the landlord can secure a new licence, which Mr Poole said he hopes will be done by August 11.

Mr Poole, who opened the bar on Arundel Gate three years ago, is still reeling from the drama.

"Before Tuesday when the licensing officers walked in at around 4pm and said we had to close, we'd had no prior warning there was any problem," he said.

"The impact's been huge. We think it will cost us in the region of £25,000 and we're looking into whether we can reclaim that money.

"If this had happened a week later and we hadn't been able to open for the Tramlines weekend I don't think we would have been able to reopen at all. It would have been that bad.

"The support from our fans has been great."

Mr Poole said there had been no trouble at the bar since it opened at the site of the old gay bar Affinity in 2014.

The Mulberry Tavern is reputed to be the city's second oldest pub, with the first landlord records dating back to 1847, though the original building has long since been demolished/

Fans have been urged to check the bar's Facebook page for updates about which gigs are on and which have been cancelled or rescheduled.