THE manager of the only remaining bar in Helensburgh with a 2am licence says the decision to strip a rival pub of its late night licence has led to “chaos” at his premises.

The Clyde Bar published a Facebook post on Thursday, May 9 saying that it had had to close early due to a significant increase in customers.

Manager John Rapallini said the Clyde has seen a significant increase in custom since the Logie Baird in James Street was hit with a licence restriction until 1am on weekends, with an 11pm curfew, for the next six months by the Argyll and Bute licensing board.

The Logie Baird has since closed completely at 11pm on Friday nights, although it remains open until 1am on a Sunday morning.

READ MORE: Helensburgh's last 2am pub considers cutting back its hours

Logie Baird owners Cara and Milan Nikolic have said that the future looks “very bleak” as a result of the decision – but a petition to reverse it has reached its target of 500 signatures.

Mr Rapallini revealed that the bar closed early lsat Thursday evening due to an uncomfortable number of people in the pub, which has a capacity of less than 200.

There was live football on TV that evening, with Arsenal and Chelsea each qualifying for the Europa League final.

READ MORE: Hundreds sign petition over Logie Baird licence limit

Mr Rapallini said: “It has put a lot of pressure on us. The Logie Baird is a bigger pub – they have a capacity of 350 and we have a capacity of 180.

“It has just become chaos because of the volume of people who are deciding to go to the Clyde.

“I have my own customers to deal with and now there are people from round the corner coming in. It is creating a bit of a problem.

“So we have had to pull it back a bit. We shut early on Thursday night as we didn’t have any stewarding and felt uncomfortable with the number of people.

“People are starting to get into the habit of saying ‘Let’s go to the Clyde’ as we have a late licence.

“We are trying various options just now to see what is working. It is trial and error at the moment.

“Any late night disturbances are liable to happen here, so we have to stay on top of that and ensure it doesn’t happen.”

READ MORE: Helensburgh pub has hours cut over disorder fears

The Clyde, which has a licence until 2am on weekends, said in its Facebook post: “Due to a significant increase in customers over the last few weeks there has been occasions in which we have had no choice but to bring forward/impose curfews and on some occasions close the bar earlier than normal.

“We acknowledge that this can be frustrating but we’d appreciate it greatly if you can bear with us at the moment, granting us time to find a way to maintain the Clyde Bar’s laid-back, welcoming atmosphere whilst coping with the pressures that come with being the only pub open late.

“We’d also like to take this opportunity to wish Cara and Milan all the best with their endeavour to have their late licence reinstated.”

The Logie Baird was subject to the change in its licence in April after Police stated that 98 incidents requiring their involvement had taken place since February 2017, when Mr and Mrs Nikolic took over the premises.

Officers also said that 79 of those incidents occurred between midnight and 2am on weekend nights. The change to the licence will be reviewed after six months.

Councillor David Kinniburgh, chair of the licensing board, last week stood by the decision, but did not rule out another hearing taking place before the six-month restriction is up.

READ MORE: Opinion: Logie Baird decision won't affect our battle with the bottle

Mr Rapallini added: “When the decision was made, it was a worry for us about how people would react to it, with us being the only 2am licence in the town.

“I really hope the Logie Baird gets its licence back, as it would relieve the pressure that has been on us.

“Our takings have gone up but we have had to increase our security. We have been busy, but not the kind of busy I am looking for.

“The Logie Baird has its clients and we have ours. We are more of a chilled-out, laid-back venue.”

READ MORE: Licensing board's chair stands by Logie Baird decision

Mrs Nikolic said: “As expected the last remaining late night pub in Helensburgh, The Clyde Bar, is struggling to cope with the fallout of Logies hours being cut and strict curfew.

“They only have a capacity of 180 and Logie Baird can accommodate 350 customers.

“It’s no surprise with their 2am licence and 1am curfew, they’re having to take action to control the influx of customers with no other late venue to go to.

“Some of the towns taxi drivers have also told us it’s affecting their takings as there aren’t as many fares to and from Logies at the weekend.

“We’d like to thank John and all at the Clyde Bar for their support. We hope they find a way through this and we urge the licensing board to look again at these restrictions and the knock-on effect on the town and its nightlife.”

A statement from the Logie Baird on Facebook then said at the weekend: “Sad to see so many of our regulars leaving town for Balloch last night.

“Even affecting all the hospitality workers in Helensburgh who find themselves with nowhere to go after they’ve finished their hard weekend shifts.”