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Council aims to end ‘dry run’ with hunt for new bar service at city venues

Expressions of interest to be sought from local licensed premises

Existing licensed premises are to be targeted in Newry in the hope of providing a bar and hospitality service at two city venues.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is expected to seek expressions of interest from local licensed premises to provide the service at Sean Hollywood Arts Centre and Newry Town Hall.

The enterprise, regeneration and tourism committee will be asked to give its backing to the proposal when it meets on Monday.

Expressions of interest had been sought back in 2016 for the provision of a cafe and bar service at the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre when the licence holder discontinued their service.

Responses were considered by council but attempts to secure a new licensee failed.

There has been no hospitality provision at the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre or Newry Town Hall since then.

But council would be hoping to put that right.

A report to committee points out: “Based on audience feedback it is evident there is a demand for a hospitality/bar service in the Town Hall and Arts Centre, particularly when popular productions, which attract high audience numbers, are scheduled throughout the year.

“In order to test market demand further, it is proposed that expressions of interest will be sought from local licensed premises to provide a bar facility on a set number of occasions in Newry Town Hall and Sean Hollywood Arts Centre to coincide with the hosting of popular performances and productions.

“The appointed provider would be required to provide light refreshments and a bar service for these evening functions/performances.

“In addition to the bar area in the Arts Centre, a suitable area would be identified for this service in Newry Town Hall during performances.”

Committee will also be informed that such an arrangement would see a review being carried out after a new provider was in place for a set amount of time.


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