Restaurant under fire for creating ‘nightclub atmosphere’

Lupo's in St Andrews has denied claims that applying to stay open until 2am would promote clubbing.

Restaurant under fire for creating ‘nightclub atmosphere’ LDRS

Reporting by Local Democracy Reporter Jon Brady

A restaurant and lounge bar in Fife has denied claims it is fostering a “nightclub” atmosphere by applying to open until 2am.

Lupo’s at 119 North Street in St Andrews is the new venture of AKGN Ltd, run by Alex Kirkbride and Galina Netylko. The firm also operates The Rav further down the street.

Self-described as a “love letter to Italy”, the eatery opened on May 28 and applied for permission to open until 1am during the week and 2am at weekends so patrons could enjoy a “lounge experience” after dinner.

It also sought to play live music at times, including Rat Pack-style big band performances.

However, the bid was opposed by four residents of North Street who feared disruptive levels of noise from diners, drinkers and live music – meaning Mr Kirkbride was called before Fife Licensing Board to justify his application.

Earlier this week the board heard from David Hamilton, a resident of North Street, who feared that the 300-capacity venue was set to promote clubbing.

He said: “To have a six-piece band playing until two in the morning is not really thinkable and I beg the board to turn down the possibility of this happening.

“We’ll have the overspill at 2am in the morning in what I would urge you to recognise as a quiet residential part of St Andrews.”

“If this is a quiet restaurant, keep the present regulations. To move it to 2am invites the student population who otherwise go to Dundee or Edinburgh.”

Mr Kirkbride insisted that the clientele Lupo attracts is not boisterous or boorish.

“We serve food until 11pm, with diners coming in as late as 8.30pm to 9.30pm, and we create more of a lounge experience where they can enjoy the ambiance of music at the table, so they’re not off to another pub or bar,” he said.

“This is not a club promoting drinking – it’s quite sophisticated. We don’t do televised sport, we have 30, 40, 60-year-olds coming out for dinner.”

Andrew Thomson, a solicitor representing AKGN, dismissed the idea that the later hours would turn Lupo’s into a “nightclub”, as objectors had claimed.

“The capacity under the existing licence is 300, and our capacity at the moment is about 200 maximum with 112 covers,” Thomson said.

“We wouldn’t get close to 200 people, let alone 300.

“This is a business that will not be the nuisance a club or a drinking only establishment would be. This is why we’ve concentrate so hard on what the venue will be about.”

Councillors sitting on the licensing board agreed to Mr Kirkbride’s requests for extended hours unanimously, with a request from Police Scotland to have a first aider on duty between 1am and 2am also accepted.

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