Police object to Super Bowl party at Mercat Grill in Whitecraig

Police object to Super Bowl party at Mercat Grill in Whitecraig

A POLICE chief has called for plans to host a Super Bowl party in an East Lothian pub to be thrown out, after claiming that the world-famous US sporting event is not “special”.

The Mercat Grill in Whitecraig wants to stay open until 4am on the day of the Super Bowl so that customers can watch the American football game live and enjoy drinks at the same time.

However, Chief Superintendent Catriona Paton has written to licensing bosses urging them to refuse permission for the late-night get-together.

Despite previous Super Bowl parties being held in the family pub without incident, the chief superintendent has objected, saying that extended licensing hours should only be granted for special events of local and national significance.

The Super Bowl – the climax of the NFL season – is second only to the UEFA Champions League final as the the world’s most-watched single sporting event and is generally the most-watched annual event on American television. It is so popular that global brands spend millions creating specific adverts to run during the course of the broadcast.

The half-time show is an internationally recognised cultural event in itself and over the years has seen iconic performances from The Rolling Stones, Janet Jackson, Beyonce, Dr Dre, Eminem, Lady Gaga and Stevie Wonder among others.

And the day of the ‘big game’ is known as Super Bowl Sunday, with fans marking the event with parties that make it the second-largest annual event for American food consumption.

‘Potential for anti-social behaviour’

Chief Superintendent Paton, however, said the position of Police Scotland was that it was not an event of great enough significance to warrant a change in licensing hours.

She said: “The applicant has indicated that the extended hours requested are required to facilitate the televised viewing of the American football Super Bowl Final [sic] 2023.

“It is the position of Police Scotland that this event does not fulfil the criteria of being a special event or occasion to be catered for on the premises, or a special event of local or national significance.”

She added: “The extension application states there will be in excess of 20 patrons attending the premises to watch the event.

“Police Scotland are of the opinion that this gives potential for anti-social behaviour and breakout noise which would be of detriment to residents.”

The application to extend the pub’s licence to sell alcohol until 4am on Monday, February 13, goes before East Lothian Council’s licensing board tomorrow (Thursday) and has been backed by the council’s own licensing standards officer.

Applying for the licence on behalf of the premises, operator Graham Blaikie said: “We have an established group of local fans who watch American football in the pub.

“It is a ticket-only event and this includes entry, a meal and t-shirt to commemorate the game.”

Last year, the licensing board approved the extension despite police objections, with conditions that last orders were given at 2.30am with a ban on customers ordering doubles at the bell and the number of guests kept to a maximum of 40 people.

READ MORESuper Bowl party to take place at Whitecraig pub as late licence granted

This year’s Super Bowl – Super Bowl LVII – will see the winner of the AFC Championship Game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals lock horns against the victor of the Philadelphia Eagles’ clash with the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. Both conference championships take place this Sunday night.

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East Lothian Courier
Marie Sharp

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