Licensing panel acts after underage drinker had to be admitted to hospital
Chelsea Lodge on King's Road. Picture: Google Streetview
A Fulham pub has been banned from hosting bottomless brunch events after a 17-year-old girl drank so much at an event that she had to go to hospital. The girl, who got into the Chelsea Lodge on King’s Road after allegedly showing fake ID, ended up in hospital along with two other women on March 26, 2022.
The pub stopped hosting bottomless brunch events after the incident and, following a Hammersmith and Fulham Council licensing meeting on Tuesday night (25 October), they will not be able to host any again in the future. The council also asked the pub to shut at 1.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and to speak to the Met Police about how it can update its drink-spiking training.
Hammersmith and Fulham Council officers said it wanted to review the pub’s hours because “there were serious management failures on the day in question, not least by allowing access to a child, but also by allowing customers to consume so much alcohol that they had to be admitted to hospital”.
In a witness statement at the time, the pub’s owner Chase Hunter said a resident first spotted the group of girls drinking alcohol before they arrived at the venue. Once inside the pub, one of the young women said she felt ill and her friends took her outside. Staff gave her a soft drink immediately and alerted a manager.
The group explained to pub staff that she had recently broken up with her boyfriend and lost a lot of weight as a result. The woman’s parents had asked for her to be taken back to Essex by train but the pub’s manager insisted on calling an ambulance.
The women who fell ill told paramedics they were worried their drinks had been spiked. Two of the women and the 17-year-old girl were taken to Chelsea and Westminster hospital for blood and urine samples while their other friend refused to be taken.
A police investigation was quickly launched into this incident. Out of the three samples tested one returned a negative result and two showed traces of prescribed, or over-the-counter, medicines.
Mr Hunter also described the moment he allegedly discovered someone underage had managed to get into the pub using a fake ID. He said, “I was so furious that I summarily dismissed the manager who had let her in when I found out. Further investigations of our CCTV proved that this female had, in fact, provided what appeared to be valid identification verifying that she was over 18.
“Indeed, social media searches suggest she has gained entry to other licensed premises and purchased alcohol presumably using the same ID. Regrettably, we were duped by this female’s false documentation but, as it now turns out, this was not down to our negligence. Nevertheless, we have since tightened further our age verification procedures and the training of staff.”
The pub had previously hosted 149 successful bottomless brunch events where guests have 90 minutes of unlimited drinks while enjoying entertainment from drag queens, singers and guest hosts. But under the new rules, they must not offer limitless amounts of alcohol.
Summing up at the licensing meeting Gary Grant, representing the Chelsea Lodge, said, “We have gone a long way in this case in making sacrifices… We have done it in order to try and get relationships back on track with the relevant authorities and the residents. We have agreed to scrap bottomless brunches even though 149 out of 150 went ahead without any problem.”
He added, “Like every over premise in your borough, we are fighting against the most horrendous attack on hospitality, the result of Covid. We will be paying off those debts for decades.”
The pub had also received a number of complaints from local residents about noise. But the pub was able to explain to the council that the noise was actually caused by drunk passers-by and house parties held in the area.
The council had spent eight nights watching the Chelsea Lodge to see if there were any noise complaints. But there were no issues on the nights when the council inspected.
Speaking about the noise complaints Mr Grant said, “There is an overwhelming amount of residents who support this premises because they know if you live just on or off the King’s Road you have not bought a house in the Cotswolds.
“I’m not saying a customer from the Chelsea Lodge has never disturbed a resident before. But it is not often.”
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October 26, 2022
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