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Neighbours split as Mimi’s bids for 6am finish

'if we see a conversation that is becoming a little too heated we can foster a hug and friendship'

09 June, 2018

A GREEK private members’ club is bidding for permission to stay open until 6am in a move which has split opinion in Fitzrovia.

Police say they won’t oppose the application from Mimi’s in Newman Street if a last-entry restriction is set at 3am. The Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association, however, say the later hours will lead to late-night disturbance for people living nearby and the suggested extension has been described as “ridiculous” by opponents.

With the key licensing meeting due to be held next week, regulars at the club, which opened in 2014, have sent Westminster City Council a batch of letters in support of the expanded hours.

Councillors must decide whether to grant permission for the current midnight finish to be stretched to 6am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and to 3am through the rest of the week.

Licensing officer PC Adam Deweltz has told the deciding committee that the venue has a clean track record.

“There have been no issues with drunkenness at the premises because, again, members tend to arrive later without really having been drinking anywhere else,” he said. “The community is quite strict and there is much opprobrium to be attached to any member who loses an important membership because of any anti-social behaviour and I suspect that this is why there have been no such incidents at the club during its years of operation.”

The objections filed with the licensing department have a different point of view.

“This variation would cause unacceptable noise nuisance to residents living in Newman Street, and opposite in Eastcastle Street,” said the Fitzrovia Neighbourhood Association. “This area has a large residential population which would be disturbed by the operation of the premises. The application should be rejected.”

A resident living nearby said they may have to move out. “When Mimi’s has a busy night, sleep has become almost impossible for my family as we live in one of the buildings opposite the bar,” they wrote. “Extending the hours at that Mimi’s will mean reliable sleep is a thing of the past for those of us living on Newman Street. I love living here but will be forced to relocate should this application be approved.”

The committee, however, has also received letters aiming to reassure councillors that later hours will not trigger late-night disturbances, and members say the hours simply meet a continental tradition for eating later. Mimi’s has stayed open to 6am on one-off occasions before but only with temporary event licences.

The Hellenic Institute of Cultural Diplomacy told the council: “We as a Greek community in London have a culture for eating late and socialising late. We would wish that the licence of our club truly reflects our social needs.”

Another member added: “I would say that it has a very social family atmosphere which self-regulates. So for example if one of the group has one too many drinks we will all make sure that they do not drink another. Or if we see a conversation that is becoming a little too heated we can foster a hug and friendship. The Greeks love to argue and sometimes debates can get heated but that will be between family friends and ends in a hug instead of crime and disorder.”

A decision is due on Tuesday.

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