Al fresco cafe planned for bar
A bar in the heart of Leicester's city centre's burgeoning Cultural Quarter is looking for permission to open an outside cafe area.
The Exchange, opposite Curve theatre, has applied for a licence so patrons can enjoy food and drink in the open air.
If granted by Leicester City Council, the highways amenities licence will allow the bar to put 20 seats and accompanying tables behind a barrier in Halford Street, from 9am to midnight, seven days a week.
Owner Cassie Soulsby said the move was something customers had been eager to see.
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"It's the same licence that neighbouring businesses like Curve, Manhattan Bar, the Curveside cafe and Chutney Ivy restaurant already have," she said. "It was always part of our plan on opening two years ago but we decided to establish our business first.
"We're doing really well at the moment, particularly with our daytime trade and our function room downstairs is booked up most weekends for live music, parties and charity events.
"As well as being a meeting place for different groups such as mums and toddlers, we now open up at 8.30am, offering £1 breakfasts.
"Customers often mention to us that they would like to be able to sit outside, particularly in the summer – it's something most say they want to see.
"We are quite excited about our plan. Traffic is minimal and the location is ideal for an outside cafe. It will be good for us and the area."
Cassie, who is chairman of the Cultural Quarter Business Association, said she wanted to make the most of the open space in Orton Square.
"We want as much going on as possible," she said. "It's taken time, but footfall is increasing in this part of town."
Lauren Irwin, 29, of Leicester's West End, attends a morning breast feeding group at the bar with her six-month-old baby, Sam, and daughter Laura, three. She said she was in favour of the move.
"It's something I'd definitely use," she said. "Especially when the weather is nice, it would be great to sit outside with the mums and children."
Breast feeding counsellor Dana Hunter, 41, of Hinckley, who runs the group, said: "With its new snug family extension, Exchange is ideal for what we do. A cafe seating area outside would be great for mums to enjoy the sunshine with their babies and buggies."
The deadline for objections to be received by the city council before it considers the licence application is Wednesday, April 3. Representations should be made in writing to the council's Pub Safety Manager for Regeneration and Culture, A Block, New Walk Centre, Welford Place, Leicester, LE1 6ZG.