Decision due over licence for new bar/restaurant in Norwich’s Castle Mall

A decision is due over the licence for the new Babel format bar/restaurant in Norwich's Castle Mall.

A decision is due over the licence for the new Babel format bar/restaurant in Norwich's Castle Mall. Picture: Louisa Baldwin - Credit: Archant

A decision will be made next week over the licence for a venue in Norwich's Castle Mall - which would be the first occupier of the shopping centre's new restaurant quarter.

Babel Bar, Clapham Junction. Picture: Google Street View

Babel Bar, Clapham Junction. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Google Street View

City councillors will decide on Monday whether to grant a licence for a new bar/restaurant on The Terrace at the mall.

Applicant Faucet Inn describes the venue, in documents lodged with Norwich City Council, as 'a traditional licensed premises with a significant food offering'.

The format is described as 'Babel', with the applicant running a venue with that name in Clapham Junction, London. The licensing application states the actual name of bar/restaurant 'will be provided in due course'.

The licensing application seeks permission for an alcohol licence from 10am until 1am each day and opening hours from 7am to 1.30am.

The applicant says the idea is to appeal to 'a wide demographic of clientele, including families' and that there will be a 'premium food offering', with 'high levels of service and some waitress provision' in dining areas.


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They say noise mitigation measures will be built into the construction of the building and 'it is not anticipated that any issues will arise in relation to noise nuisance'.

Norfolk police has not objected to the proposal, but has proposed that after 11pm, the consumption of alcohol and soft drinks will not be allowed outside the main seating area of the building.

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They also want a certain number of door supervisors and staff to be trained in relation to the sale of alcohol.

Richard Divey, the city council's own environmental protection officer, said he did 'have some concerns over noise and potential to have large numbers of customers drinking in the outside area late at night'.

He, too, recommended that no drinking would be allowed in the outside area after 11pm,

He also recommends no loudspeakers be operated in areas outside the building and that windows and doors should be closed whenever live or recorded music is played.

John Williams, chair of the Westlegate Residents Association, wrote to the council asking that the licence be restricted to 'significantly earlier' than 1am and urged that 'local residents are borne in mind when it comes to choosing the hours that music can be played'.

MORE: Babel announced as first restaurant in new complex at Castle Mall

What's in a name?

The applicant says the new venue will be in the 'Babel' format, and already runs a bar of that name in Clapham Junction.

While the Norwich venue might not end up being called Babel, the word does have an interesting origin.

A babel means a confusion of sounds or voices and that stems from the Bible. An attempt to build the Tower of Babel, which would connect earth to heaven was stopped by God. God did that by confounding their language so they could no longer understand each other and scattered them all the earth.

An oil canvas of the Tower of Babel by Tobias Verhaecht can be seen at Norwich Castle Museum.

Fans of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy will also be familiar with the Babel Fish. That was a small, yellow leech-like fish, which, when inserted into the ear, enables people to understand anything said in any language.

That name was used by Yahoo! for its web translator.

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