Hunger strike over bar licensing issues

By Michael Bruxo [email protected]

A German bar owner launched a brief hunger strike outside the Lagos town hall on Friday last week, which he believes convinced officials to grant him the licence he needed ever since his establishment was closed down over three weeks ago. However, the authority claims he did not present the documents needed in time or met legal requirements for licensing purposes.

The issue has led to a war of words between the man and the municipal authority, both refuting each other’s story.

Dago Lipke, who recently opened the Mellow Loco Bar in Lagos, told the Algarve Resident that it only took a couple of minutes in front of the Câmara building to get the attention of the workers, who shortly afterwards proceeded to grant him the licence.

“I think they were a bit upset by my hunger strike,” he joked, speaking with a relaxed tone after a couple of weeks of anxiety.

He claims that his son was offered the chance to explore the Irish Rover Bar, as it was previously called, this past spring. Their lawyer visited the municipal authority to discuss the licences needed and was told that they were all ready to be signed and conceded.

In light of this information, Lipke went on to finalise the purchase deeds for the bar and began renovation works, namely to isolate the walls and ceiling of the establishment, to the total sum of €80,000, representing a “significant amount” of his and his son’s savings as well as financial aids from close friends.

The bar was open June, July and August but at the beginning of this month an inspection by the municipal authority closed down the bar on claims of a missing licence.

Consequently, Lipke asked for a new inspection to be conducted, in which it was concluded that everything was in working order.

The licence, however, would only be handed over at least two weeks later.

Frustrated by the bureaucracy of the situation, he decided to organise the hunger strike.

“This all happened due to wrong information provided by Lagos Câmara, which in this case was serious enough to lead a whole family to financial ruin,” he confessed.

Lipke stressed that bars are a seasonal business in the Algarve and that the endeavour cost him three weeks of summer.

The Algarve Resident contacted the Lagos municipal authority, which did not comment on the hunger strike but did provide input on the licensing issue which was at the root of the disagreement.

Lagos Câmara revealed that the establishment now owned by Lipke was licensed as a restaurant by its previous owner and required a new licence to legally work as a bar.

It was said that the documents needed to obtain the licence were not handed over all at once nor according to the law, and that the last document, relating to noise reports, was received by the authority on September 18.

The spokesperson also said that the bar, when operating, caused many neighbours to complain about noise.

In conclusion, the authority states that the reports of the bar owner are not accurate and that a large part of Lipke’s discontent was caused by his “lack of knowledge” concerning the complaints about his bar and his difficulty to present all the necessary documents in the appropriate timeframe.