Express & Star

Daytime karaoke, live singers and Sky Sports plan as pub bids to cast off its violent past

A once trouble-plagued Sandwell bar is set to reopen after its landlord won a long-running licensing battle.

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Landlord Anthony Melia is hoping to reopen the bar on Lower High Street, Wednesbury, in early June

Seven Bar, in Wednesbury, was considered one of the region's most dangerous pubs after police attended 26 violent incidents in a year, including bar room brawls, stabbings, robbery, glassings and hammer attacks.

The Lower High Street venue was shut down 11 months ago and stripped of its licence on police advice. However, it has now been granted permission to open up after landlord Anthony Melia - who took over the running of the bar after its closure - won an appeal against Sandwell Council's decision at Dudley Magistrates Court.

The bar – which is set to revert to its original name The Turks Head – is in line to reopen in June and will feature daytime karaoke, pool, live music and Sky Sports.

Mr Melia told the Star: "This is great news and my message to people now is, come and give us a try.

"They will see a completely different atmosphere from anything that has gone on in the past. The judge picked up on the fact that most of the incidents that got us shut down happened after midnight.

"People were leaving other pubs that were closing and coming down here and causing trouble because it was the only place left to go. That will no longer be happening as we will only be opening 10am-10pm.

"We'll have live singers on in the afternoons and karaoke on until 6 or 7pm a couple of days a week, and we'll also have the Sky on, as well as a pool table and a jukebox."

Mr Melia said he hopes to reopen the venue on June 1 once work on the beer cellar has been completed. He also wants to restore the pub's original frontage.

West Midlands Police have continued to raise objections over the venue reopening. At a licensing hearing in October the force highlighted a series of violent incidents, including one where drinks continued to be served while a bleeding man was slumped over the bar having been knifed.

Another incident saw a man jailed after a car was driven into people outside the pub.

Mr Melia is planning to revert to the pubs original name, The Turks Head

Mr Melia had his appeal against Sandwell Council's decision granted on two conditions.

He must be present as landlord every Friday and Saturday night from 7pm until closing, and the licence cannot be transferred to any other person for 12 months.

The pub last opened on Christmas Eve under a temporary events notice.

Wednesbury North councillor Pete Hughes said he would be speaking to the town's new local policing chief regarding the venue's reopening.

"We'll certainly be keeping an eye on things and if any thing occurs that is out of order we'll be onto it straight away," he said.

"The things that went on there were pretty extreme and it is concerning that it is opening up again. The landlord obviously wants to run the place differently and I just hope he practices what he preaches.

"We are not against commercial enterprise and the night time economy, in fact we need it to revive the town.

"But it has got to be of a type that does not negatively impact on residents."

West Midlands Police has been contacted for a comment.