‘Notorious’ bar under fire after three hurt in brawl

A “NOTORIOUS” bar with a history of violence and antisocial behaviour faces a review of its licence after a mass brawl left three revellers injured.

Around a dozen drinkers, some using pool cues as weapons, were involved in the fight in Westfield Road’s Murrayfield Sports Bar – formerly the Westfield Bar.

Shortly after the original brawl another smaller disturbance broke out at the pub, requiring emergency services to visit the premises a second time.

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Although owner Stephen Devine described the pub’s reputation as “notorious” he said the fight was the first incident since he took over the bar a year and a half ago and denied the violence had anything to do with football.

When it was known as the Westfield Bar the venue lost its license for six months following a fight in October 2009. More than 20 pub-goers kicked and punched each other, and one was struck with a bottle, just days after a stabbing outside the venue.

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At least three people were injured during last Saturday’s fracas, which spilled into the street and saw one pub-goer suffer a number of cuts to his head. Three people were arrested, although a number of other people involved are understood to have fled the scene before emergency services arrived.

The council has vowed to increase its CCTV coverage and the number of community safety officers patrolling the area this weekend. A spokesman said licensing officials would be visiting the pub this week.

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But Mr Devine, 41, from Stenhouse, said the pub’s issues had disappeared since he bought the pub and put it under new management in September 2010.

He said: “That has been the first incident in the bar, there’s been nothing else.

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“We have got proper security on the door but things, unfortunately, can happen.

“Its reputation was notorious and it got shut down because of fighting most weekends, but we have had nothing for a year and a half. For a notorious bar to have one fight in that time, I’d say that’s pretty good going.

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“The guy that started the fight was a regular, but he is now banned for life. It seems his girlfriend went up to him and said, ‘There’s people at the bar making fun of your sister’. I didn’t know the other man and woman involved.

“It definitely wasn’t about football and when the bouncer saw the boy pick up a pool cue it was removed immediately. Glasses were broken, but that’s it.”

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A council spokesman said it would be closely monitoring the bar following the incident. He said: “We will have our mobile CCTV van and community safety officers operating in the Gorgie area this weekend. In addition the premises will also be visited by licensing officers to discuss the incidents with the licensee.”

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman said: “Police arrested and charged two men, aged 24 and 23, and a woman aged 20, in connection with an assault.

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“All three will appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court at a later date.”