Updated: Sunday, 5th April 2020 @ 10:41am

Manchester Pride revellers banned from drinking outside after 11pm – ruining 'street party' feel, claim bar owners

Manchester Pride revellers banned from drinking outside after 11pm – ruining 'street party' feel, claim bar owners

| By Josh Willacy

Manchester Pride revellers will be banned from drinking in the streets after 11pm this year despite the Village being cordoned off for the Big Weekend celebrations. 

A group of aggrieved Village business owners have launched a campaign to overturn the curfew, which bans their customers taking alcohol onto the streets after 11pm.

While the curfew is nothing new, Greater Manchester Police visited all the Village business owners to warn them that this year the 11pm curfew will be stricly enforced. 

Bar owners fear the police crackdown will put people off visiting and end the 'street party' atmosphere that they believe Pride was all about.

A worried long-standing business owner told MM: “It’s outrageous and the community need to be aware of it and show alarm about it. It just doesn't add up.

“Each year there seems to be more rules and more problems and it’s just taking the fun out of Pride.”

Over the Pride bank holiday weekend, it has been predicted that over 100,000 people will visit Manchester’s iconic gay village.

The capacity for the streets and back area is for 40,000 and the concern is that getting those people off the streets after the music stops at 11pm will damage the street party atmosphere.

Tony Cooper, general manager of Via, told MM: “Personally as a business owner I think we need to focus on the event in two week’s time.

“But straight after Pride this year we need to really lobby the council to bring about a suspension of the designated public places orders (DPPO) for the period of Pride.

“It’s a major national festival where people come to have a good time and not be curtailed by an 11pm on the street curfew.

“Ultimately it’s about the customer experience, we want to be seen as an international European hub of café bar culture yet we have to bring everyone in whose sat outside at 11pm on a summers evening.”

Pride has grown exponentially over the years and safety is clearly an important factor for both the organisers and police.

There have been a few isolated incidents of violent clashes in recent months around Canal Street, but security is known to be tight at Pride and the number of incidents over the weekend tends to be relatively low.

A business owner told MM: “Over pride we have triple the amount of door staff than we do typically so these restrictions just don’t add up. “

The DPPO's were introduced at the beginning of last year to give police extra powers to confiscate alcohol in public areas.

The idea is to curb on the street drinking and the problems that come with it, but some are protesting that as the street is cordoned off over pride the outdoor drinking curfew should be extended or suspended.

Owner and manager of Oscars bar, Bruce James Wood, told MM: “I’ve have a marquee outside in the car park at the back of my bar over Pride, but I run that and the bar as two separate businesses.  

“It does effect the marquee as I have a license until 1am but I then have to close that up and keep people inside which does have an impact on the atmosphere, and I think there does need to be  a little bit of lee way."

He added: “It seems to be drawing in and drawing in every year and that does worry me.”

A flyer has been circulated about the curfew but it seems many on the village are divided on the issue, with some wanting to tackle the issue sooner rather than later.   

A bar owner behind the campaign said: “The concern is that it puts people from coming to Pride, people have paid £25 a ticket and it just doesn’t feel fair.

“It’s going to have an impact on the bars, it’s going to have an impact on visitors and it’s going to have an impact on the charity. Something needs to be done.”

Manchester City Council were approached to comment but are yet to officially respond to MM.

Image courtesy of Becky EnVérité, with thanks