Cara and Milan Nikolic whose Logie Baird pub has now closed.
By Democrat reporter
A Helensburgh pub named after the inventor of television has become a turn off for young people in the town.
The Logie Baird has closed its doors despite a successful appeal against losing its late licence earlier this year.
The popular pub was hit with an 11pm curfew on Friday and Saturday evenings in April by Argyll and Bute licensing board after a spate of police incidents at its premises.
The former La Scala cinema could now stand empty
Owners Cara and Milan Nikolic successfully appealed against the sanction two months later, with the condition that its door stewarding firm was replaced.
But no company has been found with sufficient resources to provide stewards for the bar, and it has now been decided to shut the premises in the former La Scala building on James Street.
Seven members of staff have now been relocated to restaurants La Barca and Cattle and Creel, which are also run by Mr and Mrs Nikolic, with door stewards losing their jobs.
Cara said: ”The decision to lift the 11pm curfew came with the condition that we replace the door stewarding firm.
“We approached more than half a dozen reputable companies, including the one running another door in Helensburgh, and no-one had the resources to take on our premises.
“This meant we had to continue with the 11pm curfew but only a few customers would be in by then and because it was quiet moved on to the other bars which all have 1am curfews.
“Since the licensing restrictions were first imposed we’ve tried everything to keep it going but it got to the point where we just couldn’t fund it any more.
“Some part-time staff left due to lack of hours when we became quiet and we’ve been able to offer alternative jobs to seven full-time staff.
“The six door stewards unfortunately lost their jobs with us and some of the five DJs we had have sourced work in other bars in town.”
Milan added: ”Loads of people have approached me and said that it was a great venue with fantastic music entertainment and they really miss it.
“The closure of this place for the young people of the Helensburgh area has had a massive effect on the town’s nightlife, with nowhere alternative to go that’s big enough.
“A lot of people are either leaving the town early for Balloch or just staying home and having house parties.
“We also held a lot of family functions and local charity events as it was a great space for that. The closure will have a knock on effect for the town’s weekend economy and sadly means another empty building.”
Mr and Mrs Nikolic first took on the lease of the Logie Baird in February 2017, but variations were made to its late licence just over two years later.
Inspector David Quinn told April’s hearing of the licensing board that 98 police incidents had taken place at the Logie Baird since February 2017.
Seventy-nine of them occurred between midnight and 2am on weekends.
The board decided to change the weekend closing time from 2am to 1am, with an 11pm curfew, for a trial period of six months.
The bar initially closed for a period in June, ahead of its appeal at the licensing board’s next hearing on Tuesday, June 25.
Although the curfew was lifted subject to the door stewarding condition, the board did not restore the 2am late licence, keeping closing time at 1am.
Mr and Mrs Nikolic had also repainted the bar, situated in a listed building, before losing the late licence in April.
Cara added: “We painted the interior and exterior, replaced flooring throughout and upgraded the electrics and fire alarm and did work to the roof.
“This building needs a lot of TLC and we’re happy that we left it in a better state than we found it.
“We would like to say a massive thank you to our team for their loyalty and understanding during the uncertain times and to the customers who supported us and signed our petition and wrote letters of support.”
The London-based landlords of the building also said it faced being ‘mothballed’ due to no interest from UK chains and the building having no alternative use.
Lawyer Archie MacIver also said that attendance at the premises had ‘fallen off a cliff’ and the bar was being carried by the couple’s other businesses.