A COCKTAIL bar has asked to have its drinks licence relaxed after it was caught breaking the rules.

Twisted Lemon in Middle Street, Brighton, received a warning from the city council in December after a routine inspection found staff selling alcohol without food.

Similar breaches of its licence happened in November 2013 and March 2014, according to a report going before a council licensing panel on Friday.

Now bosses at the bar have asked the council to remove the restriction limiting alcohol sales to people sitting at a table eating a meal.

Removing the food requirement would mean treating the venue as a pub rather than a restaurant for licensing purposes.

The council’s licensing department has opposed the application.

It said Twisted Lemon was in an area known as the “cumulative impact zone” where applications for pub licences are automatically refused unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Sussex Police also objected to the application.

Chief Inspector Di Lewis said that an area of concern was “how the venue is being run under the current management”.

She said: “Sussex Police licensing team received intelligence suggesting that the premises was not operating as a restaurant but instead as a cocktail bar.

“On December 10 a joint visit was conducted by Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council licensing department.

“On arrival the member of staff offered a cocktail menu and when asked if food was a requirement to ordering drinks, the licensing officers were told that it was not.

“This is a clear breach of their current licence.”

The licensing panel is due to hear the application at Hove Town Hall at 10am.