Manager allowed to continue at Golders Green bar The Grove after violent attack

Manager Ian Griffiths in front of The Grove. Picture Polly Hancock.

Manager Ian Griffiths in front of The Grove. Picture Polly Hancock. - Credit: Archant

The manager of a Golders Green bar will continue in his post despite calls by police for him to be removed after two teenagers suspected of underage drinking were attacked outside the venue.

The youths, aged 16 and 17, were set upon and hit with weapons including a metal pole as they smoked in an alleyway behind The Grove bar, in Finchley Road, last month.

Bar manager Ian Griffiths was told by Barnet Council that he could continue as manager at a licensing review hearing on Wednesday - following calls from police for his removal as part of a review of the bar’s licence in light of the assault.

Calling in the The Grove’s licence for an immediate interim review ahead of Wednesday’s full review, Supt Neil Seabridge wrote to the council’s licensing team informing them that both victims were part of a group who told police they had been inside the bar drinking before the attack.

“Flagrant disregard of age-related licence conditions when linked to violent crime needs to be considered,” he added.

In the attack on April 19, the 16-year-old was hit on the head and arm with what is thought to be a bat or metal pole and suffered a cut to his head and bruising to his left forearm.

The 17-year-old was chased and hit with what was described as a crowbar, leaving him with two broken fingers, a cut lip and a bump on his forehead.

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At the interim review hearing last month, the council ordered the bar to close until a suitable CCTV system was installed.

The licensing team concluded it was not necessary to remove Mr Griffiths, but insisted “this option is still possible at the full review”.

Speaking before Wednesday’s licence review hearing, Mr Griffiths said last month’s attack was the only violent incident at the bar in the six years he has worked there.

He said the youths there on the night of the attack had come to play pool and were not drinking alcohol

He claims the clampdown on the bar following the incident – including an eight-day closure enforced by Barnet Council while CCTV was fitted – has hit the business hard.

“Since the incident we’ve had to let two bar staff go,” said Mr Griffiths. “We are not even making half the money we were before the incident. I fear we might have to close.”

As part of the licence review, the council received 29 submissions from residents living close to The Grove, owned by PPN Taverns Ltd, raising concerns about the venue.

These included fears about the threat of crime following last month’s incident, as well as issues concerning unacceptable noise levels.

At Wednesday’s meeting, the licensing sub-committee added a number of conditions to The Grove’s licence, including a requirement that alcohol be sold no later than midnight on Fridays and Saturdays and no themed events take place at the bar on those days.

These conditions were passed to address the concerns raised about late-night noise levels at the bar.

Anyone with any information about last month’s attack outside The Grove is asked to call investigating officer Det Sgt Dan Quigley, of Barnet CID, on 101, quoting reference number 2408787/13.