Bar owners along Gloucester’s Eastgate Street ‘strip’ are calling for Polycarbonate glassware to be made compulsory in all venues wishing to stay open late.
Current guidelines leave it up to individuals to make a decision on serving alcohol in plastic safety bottles and glasses. But not all venues have fallen into line.
As safety is ramped up in the city under tough new anti-social measures, banning glass from all nightspots is seen as the perfect way to complement Gloucester’s new image.
Chairman of Gloucester’s Licensed Victuallers Association Justin Hudson said: “It would not be unreasonable to make Polycarbonate glassware a compulsory part of a late night license. Glassing someone is an extreme action that deserves a prison sentence. Most bars and clubs along Eastgate Street use plastic glassware, but at the moment it is discretionary and that creates a grey area.”
Strong feelings surfaced on the issue in the wake of the glass attack on barmaid Martina Garabova. The 26-year-old was scarred for life and almost blinded by a random attack at The Registry, a club where almost all drinking vessels are plastic.
Nick Greensted, deputy manager at Liquid, said: “We only serve from plastic bottles and Polycarbonate glasses. Gloucester has had a reputation in the past, but broken glass on the floor can also be dangerous. Polycarbonates are more expensive, but you can’t put a price on safety.”
Fever manager Jimmy Elias said: “It is a matter for licensing to consider but it is something we are fully supporting at Fever in Gloucester. We have 20 venues across the country and each has since adopted a Polycarbonate policy.”
Costs at £1 per glass are around four times that of glass. They are unpopular with some as they retain heat from a dishwasher for longer than glass.
Gloucestershire Police is encouraging all late night county venues to use safer alternatives.
A spokesman said: “We have been monitoring glassing incidents and where two incidents have occurred at a venue the licensing team will work with the premises and if necessary seek to put a condition on their licence. As we have seen in the past these incidents often leave people with terrible injuries and have frequently devastated lives.”
Wetherspoons pub The Water Poet in Eastgate Street is one of the few venues to serve drinks in glass. But that will change during the Rugby World Cup next year.
A spokesman said: “The pub serves all drinks in glass and it is not something that we currently propose to change, as we haven't had any issues. If we were asked to amend that policy, we would be happy to review the situation and change if necessary. When the Rugby World Cup is being staged, all venues in the street have agreed to use poly carb glasses.”
Some premises in the city have a condition attached to a licence requiring use of plastic glasses at all times. Others require drinks to be served in plastic after certain hours or during events. To introduce a blanket policy for Gloucester, the city council would need to consider changing licensing policy.
Deputy leader of the city council Jennie Dallimore, and CitySafe board member, said: “We are very fortunate to have many licensed premises in the city using Polycarbonate glasses and bottles. This is something I strongly support. I would like to see a review take place, and ideally all licensed premises with a late night license to have a condition for use of Polycarbonate.”