London's Vibe Bar venue to shut over licensing row

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A popular London music venue has announced it is to close, blaming the capital's "petty minded" licensing laws.

Vibe Bar in the East End’s Brick Lane will shut up shop on November 11, with owner Alan Miller saying new council-imposed security measures have made the experience for patrons similar to that of airline passengers.

Mr Miller, 44, tells the London Evening Standard: “You go to these venues and there is airport-style security — it’s almost like the council expects you to run a prison.”

Mr Miller says the problems started last year when Tower Hamlets Council introduced a “saturation zone” in the area to curb anti-social behaviour. He says the compulsory security measures now include ID scans, large security teams and extensive CCTV networks – all of which have driven up his costs and contributed to a 30% drop in profits.

Brick Lane has undergone a transformation from a no-go zone to one of London’s most popular spots. Vibe Bar – which was built on the site of the Old Truman Brewery – is the latest in a string of UK live venues to close, following The Cockpit in Leeds, Liverpool’s Mello Mello, Tiger in Bristol and The 200 Club in Newport.

A number of other live venues in the UK are fighting for survival.

A spokeswoman for Tower Hamlets Council said it supports Brick Lane and insisted that licensing regulations had not changed.