Staffordshire Police claim Hanley's Manhattan Bar caters for 'lowest elements' of society
POLICE fighting to close down a bar plagued by crime and disorder have claimed the venue is catering for the 'lowest elements' of society.
Manhattan Bar in Hanley faces being stripped of its licence following concerns over high levels of violence, theft and drunken behaviour.
Police say 15 per cent of 230 recorded thefts at city centre bars took place at the nightspot.
Staffordshire Police has taken the bar's management to court after failing to persuade Stoke-on-Trent City Council to permanently shut the venue in May.
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Manhattan has since promised to close at 3am – an hour-and-a-half earlier – as part of an action plan to try to curb the problems.
But police claim problems have continued at the Trinity Street venue.
Now officers have appealed to Stafford Magistrates Court in a fresh attempt to try to revoke the bar's licence.
Andrew Leishmann, a former general manager who left Manhattan in May, yesterday detailed some of the measures the bar had taken, including closing at 3am, stopping all drinks promotions after midnight, and ensuring five members of door staff are on duty at the busiest times.
But solicitor Trevor Meegan, representing the police, said plain clothes police officers have since found the bar to be serving £2 bottles of Carlsberg after midnight, alongside discount 'fishbowl' cocktails, containing two shots mixed with an alcopop.
Officers also discovered only three door staff to be working at the time.
Mr Meegan said: "Don't you think £2 for a bottle in 2012 is very cheap?"
The solicitor claimed the bar's clientele included customers wearing trainers, baseball caps and track suits, which is against the bar's dress code.
Mr Meegan said: "You're attracting the lowest elements aren't you? The sort of people who steal mobile phones go to Manhattan.
"Your bar, the Manhattan bar, has a reputation for allowing the sort of people in who would not get into other premises in Hanley."
Juan Lopez, representing Pad Bar Ltd which owns the Manhattan Bar, said this type of customer was 'a fiction'.
He also pointed to 'glaring inconsistencies' in police evidence which has included incidents occurring outside neighbouring bars and takeaways.
The solicitor said late night bars free of antisocial behaviour and thefts exist only in a "Utopian paradise".
He added: "We don't imagine for a moment that even in the classiest venues that thefts don't happen or people can become rowdy."
The case continues.