Chester Pubwatch has condemned a Cruise nightclub promotion starting tonight (July 4) that will see revellers paying just £1 per drink all night on Mondays.
Frank Marnell, chairman of Pubwatch, dubbed the actions of the St John Street venue ‘disgusting’ as he fears it will fuel a binge drinking culture, potentially sparking anti-social behaviour.
And Cruise, who have not responded to requests for an interview, could find itself in hot water as a Pubwatch member because the group operates a minimum £1.50 per drink policy.
The “Quids In’ promotion appears to be marketed at students returning home to Chester for the summer. The equivalent Monday night at Rosies nightclub advertises drinks at £2 per drink all night but the venue does sell drinks for as little as £1.50 as part of certain promotions.
Mr Marnell said of the Cruise offer: “I understand everyone is under pressure at the moment. But we don’t want it in Chester. It’s going backwards if we are going down that avenue.”
There are concerns rival city centre venues may be tempted to lower their prices to compete.
And the Pubwatch chairman fears Chester could become like Warrington which has attracted national publicity because of its binge drinking culture on midweek nights.
“I think it’s disgusting,” said Mr Marnell. “We have been down this avenue once before. We are not Warrington and we don’t want to be like these other places. I’m totally against it.”
Back in 2008 a price war developed between Cruise and Rosies with pints of lager being sold for just £1.50 as each attempted to lure the city’s student population with special Monday night promotions.
And the now defunct Foregate Street venue Brannigans was forced to abandon plans to sell pints and shots for just 90p on Thursdays due to police pressure.
Mr Marnell said: “If we go down this avenue with £1 per drink then half of Warrington will come here, half of Wrexham will come here, all of Ellesmere Port will come here, people will come from all over the place. We don’t want people coming just because it’s £1 per drink. It will encourage the wrong type of person to come.”
Mr Marnell said there ‘may well’ be consequences for any Pubwatch member that breaks the minimum price agreement. He asks them to think again and move the price point up to £1.50.
Chief Inspector Mike Evans warned that premises can be closed down if they fail to act responsibly in line with the law.
He said: “Cheshire Police are keen to work with our statutory partners and the licensing trade themselves to make our towns and cities safe and enjoyable places to be. It is our firm opinion, based on evidence, that excessive drinking leads to an increase in crimes and disorder and clearly, can have serious health implications.
“Drink promotions of any nature have a tendency to encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol thereby leading to the consequences described and given these can lead to contraventions in the licensing objectives, police will take robust action including utilising powers of closure under the crime and disorder act where necessary to ensure they are complied with.”
The Chronicle has asked Cruise for a comment on three occasions and has visited the venue but there has so far been no response.
Doormen at Cruise are equipped with a breathalyser to test arriving customers suspected of being intoxicated and turn them away if necessary.