Council crackdown on late-night bars

Inner city residents may look forward to some peace and quiet if the council successfully manages to limit the number of late-night bar licences

Too many inner city bars are allowed to remain open until 5am according to the City Council, which has decided to cap the number of licences for late-night establishments.

The decision follows weeks of debate over how to balance the benefits of a vibrant nightlife against the disruption caused to local residents through elevated noise levels and vandalism.

The deputy mayor for culture, Pia Allerslev (Venstre), has sided with the residents and wants to cut back on the number of late-night bars.

“We have a duty as the licencing authority to listen to the police, who have told us that the inner city has reached a saturation point and that they cannot recommend we hand out any more licences in the area,” Allerslev told the freesheet metroXpress, adding that while she couldn’t withdraw licences, she wouldn’t issue any more.

According to Politiken newspaper, the city approved 585 licences in 2012 and rejected only 21.

The new licencing plan, with a stated intention of imposing a more restrictive licencing policy for bars and night clubs in the inner city, is open for public comment until June 11.

Bent Lohmann, the chairman of the inner city local council, has repeatedly expressed his concern that the city’s nightlife was out of control.

“Many residents are seriously worried,” Lohmann told Politiken in November. “It’s become too much to handle. It’s fine having a nightlife, but the nightlife in the inner city has grown and too many licences have been handed out. It’s a serious problem.”

The new licencing plan also places greater responsibilities and demands on bars to minimise how much they disturb their neighbours.

Gothersgade, a street with many bars and late-night revellers, recorded eight cases of violence and 15 drug violations between November 2012 and March 2013, according to the Copenhagen Police.