Scrapped – new games bar for York is ditched after ‘painful and arduous’ licensing wrangle

Inside the Play House Bar. Photograph: Facebook

Plans for a new bar and restaurant in the city centre – featuring retro arcade games, air hockey and pool tables – have been ditched.

The team behind Play House York, which was due to open on Cumberland Street, say they are tens of thousands of pounds out of pocket after they were unable to secure a licence for the venue.


The company took over the unit that was formerly home to the Cat’s Pyjamas Indian street food restaurant earlier this year and revamped the interior.

Richard Thorpe from Play House said they understood there was already a licence in place for the premises but then they discovered there was not.

Police objections

Play House on Cumberland street. Photograph: Richard McDougall
North Yorkshire Police and City of York Council objected to plans for the bar to open and sell alcohol until 2am every night of the week, saying the new bar would have a “negative impact” on the area – which is in a zone in the city centre that already has high levels of crime and anti-social behaviour.

Richard said:

  • We had further conversations with our solicitor after the licensing meeting and they said the likelihood of us being able to trade in the right way – with food and drinks – is just not going to happen.

    It’s been such an arduous journey. One of the partners has been left upset by it and it has cost us tens of thousands of pounds.

    The saddest part for us is that we had such positive feedback. We wanted to be somewhere different – where people could come and play and have food rather than just drink.

    We didn’t think it was a bad concept. But it’s been arduous and painful and a bit depressing.


He said the team will “regroup” and look for premises that are already licensed – but that they may try to open the bar somewhere other than York.

He added: “You see so many empty shops and it’s worrying that you have a good idea with the best intentions, and it gets eroded.”

The council has been approached for a comment. A licensing meeting for the application was adjourned.

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