By Madeline O’Connor
The Crown Bar, one of Northern Ireland’s best-known pubs, has been forced to close due to a lapsed liquor licence.
One of Belfast’s oldest pubs, it is a popular spot with tourists and locals alike. It is believed its drinking licence expired in November 2012.
A spokeswoman for Mitchells & Butlers, which operates the bar, told UTV: “Due to an administrative oversight the Crown will be closed temporarily until the new licence application hearing takes place on 17 January.
“During the closure we’ll be taking the opportunity to carry out some staff training – at what it is our quietest time of year – and also some cleaning.
“We do apologise if this inconveniences our regulars but under the circumstances it is the right course of action for us to take.”
A spokesman for the National Trust, which owns the bar, said: “The Crown Bar has been leased to the current tenant since 2006.
“All statutory obligations, including the renewal of licences, rest with the tenant.
“We are very concerned to learn about this oversight and we encourage the tenant to seek a speedy resolution to this issue to ensure this historic building is reopened to the public as soon as possible.”