Canas Y Tapas on Upper Street. Picture: Google Streetview
Published: 3 February, 2017
by JOE COOPER
A TAPAS bar which made residents’ lives “unbearable” after regular late-night brawls agreed to sell up at a huge loss before the Town Hall could strip it of its licence.
Police called for the review of the licence for Upper Street’s Canas Y Tapas, which they described as a “drunken youth club”, after being called there 20 times in 2016.
Islington licensing officer PC Peter Conisbee said he had not seen trouble “on anything like this scale in this area” in 12 years working in the borough.
Since the review was called for in late November police have been called several more times, including to a mass brawl involving 10 people which spilled onto the street just before Christmas.
At the hearing at the Town Hall on Tuesday, PC Conisbee outlined an “alarming” incident two weeks ago in which the victim of an assault claimed bouncers at the restaurant drove him to Hornsey Road where they “dumped” him before allowing the man who assaulted him back in. The incident is understood to be connected to drug dealing at the venue, PC Conisbee said.
Papers prepared for councillors showed that previous incidents in 2016 saw a police officer bitten by a young suspect, while another arrest was made for possession of a hunting knife.
PC Conisbee said he had “no faith whatsoever” in designated premises supervisor Andrew Zacharia. Neither he, nor Parvez Bhatty, director of Koncept Tapas Group, which ran the restaurant, were present at the hearing. Barrister James Rankin, representing Canas Y Tapas, said Mr Bhatty was “very unwell”.
He revealed that Mr Bhatty, having invested £1.3m in the venue, had agreed to sell it at a £1m loss.
Adjacent Italian restaurant La Forchetta, with no connection to Canas Y Tapas, will take over and launch a new Greek restaurant called Athens. “It will be a proper family restaurant,” Mr Rankin told the meeting. “There will be a live Greek band and maybe even a bit of plate smashing.”
The licensing committee agreed to modify the licence on condition that they were provided with evidence of the sale and that Mr Zacharia and Mr Bhatty were to have no further involvement.