A NIGHTCLUB is set to become the first in Britain to allow customers to bring in their own booze.
Bob Senior has decided to allow customers to buy bottles and cans from supermarkets and bring them in to his Durham City club, a move which has come under fire from health groups,
The 57-year-old said: “Business in nightclubs is down 70 per cent in the last five years, and big companies are going out of business.
“This is because bars have been allowed to open 24 hours, and supermarkets are selling very cheap drink.
“People are either staying in and having house parties, or they’re spending several hours drinking cheap alcohol before they go out.
“Nightclubs cannot compete. We have to be imaginative if we are to going to survive.”
Mr Senior, who started as a DJ in Sunderland bars before building up £100million company Ultimate Leisure, added: “I have checked the legal position and there is nothing in our licence that says we cannot do this.
“We will do this in a responsible way, by allowing people to drink their own alcohol in a safe environment and still enjoy the pleasure of a nightclub, with music, dancing and meeting other people.”
Punters will pay £7 to enter Durham Live, which is open until 2.30am.
They can spend the evening drinking their own booze, with glasses and ice supplied by the club.
The bring-your-own-drinks idea will only operate on Fridays and Mondays.
Mr Senior says security staff will make sure troublemakers, drunks or people with large quantities of alcohol not allowed in.
However, the idea has been slammed by Safe Durham Partnership, which includes health organisations.
Claire Sullivan, chairman of the partnership’s Alcohol Harm Reduction Group, said: “We believe it poses a number of risks, including the potential for greater consumption of higher-strength drinks such as spirits and wines.
“This will not just have a detrimental impact on the health of the individuals, but may in turn impact on A&E and ambulance services, and increase disorder, including domestic and sexual violence.
“There is also the potential for glassware in the club to be used as a weapon, both within and outside the premises, possibly increasing the risk of injury, violent crime and litter.
“Over the last four years, there has been a 87 per cent drop in violent crime in Durham City, which has been achieved through the partnership working, therefore we believe this action is a step backwards.”
A Durham Police spokesman said: “While the police are not the licensing authority, it is obviously something we will monitor closely.”