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Bairds, famous Celtic bar shut after violent incidents, to re-open as furniture store

ONE of Scotland's best-known pubs, forced to shut down over repeated violent incidents, is being brought back to life - as a furniture store.

Bairds Bar on Glasgow's Gallowgate, where Celtic's then interim manager Kenny Dalglish once held a press conference in 2000, became one of only a handful of bars in the city to have its licence revoked last year.

The pub, known among Celtic fans the world over, had been hauled before licensing chiefs three times in less than 18 months.

But amid new policies making it increasingly difficult to enter the licensed trade, the owners of the bar have opted against attempting to re-open it as a pub.

Instead, owners Margaret McIver Limited said it had found a new client and the pub would become a furniture store.

A formal planning application has been submitted to the Glasgow City Council for a change of use.

Tom Joyes, of Margaret McIver and general manager within the Barras, explained that the tightening grip on the licensing system was the key motivation for abandoning any chance of a Bairds revival.

He said: "We own Bairds and as is known it lost its licence. But the talk going around the trade is the difficulties securing new licences for pubs because of overprovision and other factors.

"There's just too many pubs in the vicinity and there seems to be a push to tidy up the area. The feeling was Bairds would never get a licence again so we've applied to the council for change of use.

"It's a conventional shop rather than an extension of the market and we've a client, a furniture store, already lined up."

The council recently scrapped its policy of having seven areas across Glasgow designated as "over-provision zones", essentially areas including parts of the west end and city centre considered at saturation point with licensed premises.

Instead, it created new areas, particularly in the east end and south side, using data on the volume of licensed premises, alcohol-related hospital admissions, crime statistics, and the multiple deprivation index.

During the hearing into its closure, Strathclyde Police claimed staff helped clear away a crime scene, when a man was attacked by other pub-goers at the pool table, before officers arrived.

The move to revoke the licence with immediate effect remains one of the few times councils across Scotland have used the power, introduced in late 2009.

One local trade source said: "It was shut partly to send out a message to other pubs in the area."

A city council spokeswoman said: "It is being treated at this stage as a change of use of the unit to retail."

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