Club goers toast ‘own booze’ idea

NEW APPROACH: Club owner Bob Senior says the 'bring your own booze' nights are his way of competing with low prices at supermarkets.

NEW APPROACH: Club owner Bob Senior says the 'bring your own booze' nights are his way of competing with low prices at supermarkets.

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A CLUB owner’s “bring your own booze” policy is set to become a weekly event.

Veteran victualler Bob Senior raised eyebrows last month after announcing punters could take their own alcohol to his club.

Mr Senior, 57, said the move was designed to combat cheap supermarket booze prices, and claimed it would help avert disorder by encouraging clubbers not to drink heavily before hitting the town.

Last week revellers paid a £7 entry fee into the club, in North Road, and took their own drinks, while the bars were still open for those who wanted to use them.

Now the entrepreneur, who started as a DJ in Sunderland bars before building up £100million company Ultimate Leisure, plans to make it a weekly event at his Durham Live Lounge in the city’s North Road.

He said: “Around 100 people showed up. It went reasonably well and there was a lot of interest in it for this week – and it is definitely worth doing it again in the future.

“A lot of students turned up and it was interesting to see people getting their drinks out.

“If that works then great, and we might look to it becoming a regular thing. I think its probably an event that works better during the week rather than on a weekend.”

Alcohol charities slated the new policy but Bob said he was just trying to compete with the low supermarket prices.

He said: “There was a lot of hullabaloo but nobody gave it a chance. There was no trouble.

“It’s not something I would like to do but the reality is that I have to do it. I would rather be charging full price for drinks, but supermarkets are selling drinks for cheaper than I can buy them.

“Clubs are competing with the fact that people have got used to cheap drinks.”

The new idea proved a hit with revellers.

Hanna Morris, an 18-year-old hairdressing student from Durham, said: “I think it’s a good idea.

“You can understand why the club has done this. It’s annoying when you go out and pay £3 for one vodka when you can buy a bottle from the supermarket for less than £10.”

Ally Owens, 23, an IT worker from Consett, County Durham, added: “Some restaurants let you take your own booze, so why not clubs? It’s a good idea, something different.”

The club will still sell alcohol, but Mr Senior said supermarkets can sell beer 25p cheaper per pint than he can even get it for his club.

Claire Sullivan, of Safe Durham’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Group, warned the policy would have a detrimental impact on health, increase disorder, and domestic and sexual violence.

But Mr Senior hit back, saying: “It worries me that people in charge of alcohol awareness would put out a comment that’s so out of touch. I’m not saying ‘come and have free drinks’.”

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