Wetherspoon’s gets extended 1am drinks licence

'Til late: Whetherspoon's manager Michael McMillan welcomes extended opening hours.
'Til late: Whetherspoon's manager Michael McMillan welcomes extended opening hours.
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A Peterhead pub has been granted a 1am late night licence.

The Cross Keys on Chapel Street, owned by pub chain Wetherspoon, was granted the licence by the North Divisional Licensing Board which enables it to remain open for an extra hour on Friday and Saturday nights.

The pub’s new late licence has been welcomed by new manager Michael McMillan (29), who says he is looking forward to welcoming customers for an extra hour.

He said: “We get a really mixed crowd over the weekend and everyone is very respectful. People enjoy coming here because of the friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

“I am sure people will be delighted to stick around that little bit longer.”

He says the 25-strong team istrained to deal with drunkenness and always ask for proof of age if they suspect a customer is under 18. Michael insists that there has been no trouble from customers since he accepted the manager’s job in April.

But the decision to allow The Cross Keys to open later has caused mixed feeling among Peterhead’s established town centre pubs.

Manager of Chapel Street’s Caley Bar, Darren Beagrie, said: “We will just have to monitor the situation. We are open until 1am and usually get an influx of people when Wetherspoons closes at 12. It might make things easier on our bar staff.”

Raymond Matthew, owner of Bailie’s Lounge Bar, admitted that there had been a decline in his bar’s clientele when Wetherspoons opened in April 2008, but that people had come back to the Broad Place venue because the beer is better.

He said: “Wetherspoons are operating within the law. People have freedom of choice to drink wherever they like. But our product is better and our spirits are cheaper.

“I think the licensing board have bigger problems than Wetherspoon’s.”