Macs Bar owner will fight to reopen Preston club

Andy Mac of MACs Bar
Andy Mac of MACs Bar
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A disgruntled bar owner has said the loss of his city centre club’s licence could have a major impact on the whole of Preston’s night-time economy.

Macs Bar in Friargate was stripped of its licence by council chiefs, following a two-day Town Hall hearing.

Police had raised concerns including allegations of under-age drinking, but the council has yet to publish the reasons behind the decision to revoke the licence.

Andy Mac, who owns the city centre bar, said he would be weighing up his options for the future including the likelihood of an appeal, but said the news came as a blow to the whole of Preston.

He said he disputed many of the claims made during the hearing, and said he was “really disappointed” with the outcome.

He said: “This is my city centre night club, it’s one of the most successful, popular ones in the city centre and we do very well.

We are weighing up our options now, we don’t agree with the decision, we don’t think it was made correctly.

Andy Mac

“We are weighing up our options now, we don’t agree with the decision, we don’t think it was made correctly.”

Andy said he had not had time to properly prepare for last week’s hearing, as he had been focusing on a crown court appeal, after the bar was closed last month.

In response to allegations of under-age drinking at the bar, he said an average of 150 people per week were turned away trying to use fake ID.

He said: “Since last year, there’s been around 20 under-age people in that we know of, which we didn’t know of at the time.

“I employ security staff to ID everybody.

“If some of them are going to slip through the cracks it’s annoying but I’m the one that’s getting punished.”

He said the issues raised were “easy fixes”, with solutions including an ID scanner.

Andy said: “Macs helped put Preston on the map.

“Before it opened in 2011 there were a lot of articles which said there was a dwindling night life in Preston.

“We are attracting people from Manchester, we have a footfall of about 135,000 a year that we bring into the city centre.

“We’ve always been seen as a good place to go and for my reputation to be tarnished like this is not fair.

“I agree there are some issues that can be solved, but I don’t agree with the decision.

“It’s not good for Preston as a whole because we have people from all areas who come to Macs.”

Andy said he would be having a meeting to decide whether to open the bar, which employs 108 people, during the appeals process.

He said: “The main thing I’m focusing on now is getting my club open and appealing.

“The review did highlight areas that need to be improved within the business and I will strive to do so and to mend the important relationship with police.

“The areas where improvement is needed did not justify revocation and could have been properly dealt with by conditions that I agreed to.”

Issues had been raised by police in Preston with the council, and Sergeant Tony Bushell from Preston Police’s licensing unit said: “We welcome the decision made by Preston Council today.

“The review was submitted over concerns relating to the management of the premises after an investigation uncovered major failings of the management to promote the licensing objectives, predominantly around underage customers, the irresponsible retailing of alcohol and issues around dispersal at closing time.

“Over the last 12 months, we have raised these issues with the premises on a number of occasions and offered advice which unfortunately appears to have been ignored.

“This left us with no other option but to seek a revocation of the premises’ licence.”