LICENSING bosses could force a troubled town centre bar to close for good after it erupted in violence.
A mass brawl at Bar Amour, in Zetland Street, Huddersfield, left it looking like Beirut, according to one witness.
Magistrates issued a closure order banning the bar from being open after 11pm following the incident.
And Kirklees Council’s licensing panel will meet tomorrow to decide what long-term action to take.
One option would be to revoke the licence.
In a statement, Karen Eastwood, licensing officer for Kirklees division of West Yorkshire Police said the bar had a history of trouble.
She said: “The police have been concerned about these premises and the number of violent incidents which have been going on since February 2006.
“I have grave concerns about the safety of the public and staff.”
The latest incident took place shortly after midnight on November 10, when police received two calls reporting a disturbance.
The second said customers were fighting each other with bar stools.
Officer Eastwood said: “The caller also requested an ambulance as he had sustained a gash to his head and said there would be other injuries, adding that about 20 people were fighting.
“An employee of Bar Amour then called the police and this caller stated there was a fight in progress, involving approximately 50 people throwing tables and chairs.”
Sgt David Stainthorpe was among the officers who attended.
He said there were 120 to 140 people inside the building.
“The atmosphere was extremely hostile. People were standing around in large groups,” he said.
“There were numerous upturned tables and broken bar stools strewn across the floor area of the bar.
“In addition to this there were numerous broken glasses on the floor. There was also an extremely strong smell of cannabis in the building.”
He added: “I had reasonable grounds to believe that there would be further incidents of serious disorder inside the premises if they were allowed to remain open and that public safety would be at risk.”
When the police ordered the bar to close they were confronted by angry punters.
One person was arrested for carrying a chair leg as a suspected weapon.
Officer Eastwood said: “During the prisoner’s transportation to the cell area, the prisoner asked the officers if they knew that somebody in the bar had been carrying a gun.”
A barman who was on duty at the time said the bar was left strewn with debris. “In general terms I would say it looked like a scene from Beirut,” he said.
The brawl was the latest in a string of incidents at Bar Amour.
In the previous 21 months police were called out no fewer than 14 times, often to reports of violent disturbances.
A series of meetings took place between management and police to address the problems.
In one meeting licensee Dominic Pinnock was reported to have told police: “There is a nice atmosphere at Bar Amour until 12.30am, when darkness descends.”
Among the measures the bar tried was a ban on gangster rap music and certain types of clothing associated with the rap music scene.
But Officer Eastwood said: “Unfortunately the problems are continuing at the premises.
“There are clearly drugs being used at the premises and there have been many violent incidents requiring hospital treatment for the victims.”
Huddersfield magistrates issued the closure order on November 14.
Police have recommended that the 11pm closure time be imposed indefinitely.
Other potential measures open to the licensing panel tomorrow include suspending the licence or revoking it completely.
Police call-outs to Bar Amour in 2006-07:
11/2/06: Female assaulted by doorstaff
22/4/06: Rolex watch stolen from a doorman
2/7/06: Male knocked unconscious while breaking up a fight
27/8/06: Customer glassed
9/9/06: Customer bottled while trying to buy cannabis
21/10/06: Employee hit with a bottle after telling a customer not to smoke cannabis
5/11/07: Brawl; bottles and glasses thrown
25/3/07: Customer spat at
20/5/07: Female had hair and earring ripped out during racial assault
23/5/07: Man kicked in head during disturbance
14/7/07: Customer assaulted by doorstaff
15/7/07: Customer punched in face
21/7/07: man punched twice in face
5/8/07: Customer hit with bottle
10/11/07: Closure Order issued after mass brawl