NEEDED BOOST: African restaurant licence
Jackline Efetevbia, owner of restaurant African Palace, Image: LDRS
Jackline Efetevbia has been through “hell” the past few months, struggling to pay her bills as she manages her new restaurant single-handedly.
But the Nigerian caterer, who moved to Bristol five years ago from Spain, has just got the boost she needs to help make her African restaurant a success.
African Palace in Easton gained permission to sell alcohol and play recorded music on Thursday (September 9) at a licensing hearing at City Hall.
Ms Efetevbia told the Local Democracy Reporting Service she jumped at the chance when she heard the African Village Barbecue on Stapleton Road was closing down.
She moved quickly and, after refurbishing the premises, opened the African Palace in October 2020 – against the advice of her friends.
“They said ‘it makes no sense’,” she said, referring to the timing mid pandemic. “But I couldn’t help it. Cooking is my passion. I love cooking.
“It was the right place. I wanted it. If I hadn’t done it then, I would have missed out.”
Asked how it was going now, she answered “great”.
But it hasn’t been easy.
Ms Efetevbia, who owns and runs the business, said she has struggled financially. She still does everything herself – cooking, serving, cleaning and administration – because she cannot afford to employ anyone else to help.
“It’s been hell,” she said.
But she hopes the appeal of alcohol and recorded music will lead to extra customers and extra revenue, which will allow her to employ staff.
An exemption on her new licence allows her to sell African guinness, a more bitter brew than the original Irish stout with a higher alcohol strength of 7.5 per cent.
Police had asked the licensing committee to impose a condition preventing sales of any ciders, beers or lagers with an alcohol strength of above six per cent.
But members allowed the exemption after Ms Efetevbia told them the guinness had been popular at the African Village Barbecue, and she wanted to be able to sell it too.
All other conditions requested by police, the fire service and the council’s pollution control team were included on the licence.
These included earlier closing times than Ms Efetevbia applied for.
She had wanted to open the restaurant at noon daily and keep it open until 11.30pm on Mondays to Thursdays and until 3.30am on Fridays to Sundays.
But under the licence granted by Bristol City Council, the African Palace must close at 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays and at 11.30pm every other day of the week.
Alcohol sales and music must stop half an hour before closing to give time for customers to leave.
Ms Efetevbia told the licensing hearing she plans to have a DJ about once a month on a Friday or Saturday night, but recorded music will be played on an indoor speaker system the rest of the time.
She was told she cannot start using the new licence until she submits a revised premises plan which includes both fire exits.
African Palace is currently operating under the existing premises licence.
Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter
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