New Babel bar/restaurant in Norwich’s Castle Mall gets go-ahead

Babel has been annouced as the first restaurant to come to the new Castle Mall complex. Picture: Lou

Babel has been annouced as the first restaurant to come to the new Castle Mall complex. Picture: Louisa Baldwin - Credit: Archant

The first venue in Norwich Castle Mall's new restaurant quarter is due to open its doors later this year, after city councillors granted it a licence.

Babel Bar, Clapham Junction. Picture: Google Street View

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

Applicant Faucet Inn has been given the go-ahead for the new bar/restaurant on The Terrace in the shopping complex - but insisted the new venue is 'not a pub'.

The format is described as 'Babel', with the applicant saying the it will follow in the footsteps of their Babel venue in Clapham Junction, London.

They had initially sought permission for an alcohol licence from 10am until 1am each day and opening hours from 7am to 1.30am.

But ahead of today's meeting of Norwich City Council's licensing committee, the hours being sought were changed, with closing time at 12.30am and the premises licence up until midnight.

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

So had Richard Divey, the city council's environmental protection officer and the applicants agreed to that condition.

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Tim Shield, solicitor for Faucett Inn, said of the new venue: 'It's a very-much food led concept. Food will be a very important part of the offer. Alcohol will be an important part of the offer and music will be a part of the offer.'

He said the music was likely to be recorded music in the main, although there could be occasions when the venue hosted DJs.

He said the idea was that people would head there for food after work, or before or after a cinema visit. He stressed: 'It is certainly not a pub. We are ready and we are looking to open later on this year.'

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

He told members of the licencing committee that he still had concerns. He said: 'It's come down to whether its a restaurant with drinking and entertainment or whether its about drinking and music, with some food available.'

Councillors did agree to grant the licence.

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