Chester Racecourse is opening a new bar for the 2018 racing season but is also supporting the council’s ‘Drink Less, Enjoy More’ campaign.
Entry to The Walls is by a new staircase at the main entrance in Watergate Square.
The all-year-round bar has been created as part of changes completed just in time for the Boodles May Festival (May 9-11) , which begins on Wednesday (May 9).
It features a large standing area as well as seating and views of the City Walls through a glass panel.
The race company, which has a growing number of licensed premises, insists its approach is to ‘encourage people to drink sensibly’.
And the latest bar could be seen as a simple replacement for The Watergate Inn which was demolished to make way for a new canopied entrance into the County Stand.
Thousands of people are attracted to the racecourse from across the country with many enjoying a bet and a few tipples before descending on city centre bars and restaurants.
A recent council-commissioned report by consultants Amion noted concern over ‘issues relating to alcohol consumption and the behaviour of racecourse visitors after events’ in addition to the £54.1m economic boost and near 1,000 jobs generated by the races.
The study suggested the race company continue to work with Cheshire Police and Cheshire West and Chester Council to further reduce anti-social behaviour.
And the racecourse appears to be playing ball by publicly backing CWaC’s ‘Drink Less, Enjoy More’ campaign which aims to reduce drunkenness and anti-social behaviour in the city.
Mark Wilcockson, head of HR at Chester Racecourse, said: “Our bar staff and stewards are well-trained and monitor drinking behaviour throughout the event. We want people to have an enjoyable time at the races and we encourage people to drink sensibly, enjoy their day and stay safe.”
Another aspect of the council initiative is to raise awareness about the hefty fines that can be incurred.
Fines can be imposed on people if they buy alcohol for someone who is clearly drunk or if bar staff serve someone who is clearly drunk. Both offences can result in a fine of up to £1,000 and premises found to be serving people who are clearly drunk run the risk of losing their licence.
Councillor Louise Gittins , cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, commented: “It’s important to get this message out to residents and visitors. Drunkenness can have serious health consequences, including alcohol poisoning, and can contribute to sexual violence, violent crimes and accidents.
"It also places a huge burden on our health, police and other public services at a time when they are already stretched.
“Alcohol misuse is estimated to cost public services within the borough £129 million a year. The police are actively enforcing these laws and encouraging people to drink sensibly, consequently creating a safer city for residents, students and visitors.”