A cocktail bar’s bid to sell alcohol without food has failed.

Twisted Lemon in Middle Street, Brighton, opened with a restaurant licence and has been told it must sell food with its cocktails.

It had come to the attention of Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council licensing department for selling alcohol without food.

A failed test sale in December 2018 was the third time the bar had been censured for selling alcoholic drinks wthout “substantial food”.

The owners Mark Friel and Todd Williams were told in a letter that a council licensing panel had considered the individual style and operation of the business – and the nature of its exceptional circumstances.

Twisted Lemon’s barrister Charles Holland insisted that if the terms of the licence were relaxed, the bar would continue to operate as it had for years, which would not change behaviour in the area.

But the owners were told they had to show exceptional reasons to be an alcohol-led business as it is in an area “saturated with premises licences” and where the police have described the high levels of alcohol-related crime and disorder as “second only to West Street”.

Mr Friel said it was likely the bar would have to close as customers were not interested in food and enjoyed cocktails.