Merlin boss backs Tower Lounge bar

The Tower Lounge on Bank Hey Street
The Tower Lounge on Bank Hey Street
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The man behind the operation of Blackpool’s controversial Tower Lounge has today defended the town centre drinking establishment.

Iain Hawkins, operations manager for Merlin (Blackpool) which runs the bar, said it was well run and insisted the town needed to be split to offer a drinking quarter, 
restaurant quarter and entertainments quarter.

His comments come after another town centre bar, Underbar, was rapped by Blackpool Council’s licensing committee and had its opening hours slashed in a bid to clean up the resort’s image.

The Tower Lounge has come under fire with daytime drinkers are spilling out into the main shopping area.

Mr Hawkins said: “I think everyone has their own view about the Tower Lounge, but I would rush to its defence 
because since we came in four years ago we have run the 
Tower Lounge very, very well.

“We have very little 
trouble, high security and manage it very, very tightly. Unfortunately, not all other bars in the town, in my opinion, are managed as tightly.”

The bar looks set to close in its current form by the end of the summer, and Mr Hawkins said Merlin was in talks with the council, which owns Tower Lounge, over its future.

He wouldn’t disclose what was being said. He added: “I have no doubt that things need to keep moving in the town, and it is my opinion that the town should be split into quarters for drinking, theatres, restaurants and retail.

“It would be easier for police to manage and you wouldn’t have people wearing inappropriate attire in an area which attracts families to the resort.”

On Tuesday, The Gazette reported how Underbar, opposite the Tower Lounge on Bank Hey Street, cannot sell booze until 5pm. Previously the bar, which opens Friday and Saturday, was licensed from 10am, though it opened at noon.