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A Continental Ambience? Lessons in Managing Alcohol-related Evening and Night-time Entertainment from Four European Capitals

Marion Roberts, Chris Turner, Steve Greenfield and Guy Osborn
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Marion Roberts: Central Cities Institute, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, UK, robertm@wmin.ac.uk
Chris Turner: Central Cities Institute, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, UK, TurnerCJB@aol.com
Steve Greenfield: School of Law, University of Westminster, 4 Little Titchfield Street, London, WIW 7UW, UK, greenfs@westminster.ac.uk
Guy Osborn: School of Law, University of Westminster, 4 Little Titchfield Street, London, WIW 7UW, UK, osborng@westminster.ac.uk

Urban Studies, 2006, vol. 43, issue 7, 1105-1125

Abstract: Attempts to revitalise the centres of British towns and cities in the 1990s drew on the concept of the 24-hour city and, by extension, into liquor licensing reform. The protagonists for the 24-hour city, and many magistrates and local authorities, assumed that a relaxation of British licensing laws would bring about a more civilised mode of alcohol consumption and deliver a 'continental ambience' to urban life that would extend into the night. This paper brings forward evidence from a cross-cultural comparison of four European cities to demonstrate that a 'continental' style of alcohol consumption is supported by a variety of controls and enforcement measures. It concludes that British free market attitudes to licensing reform will undermine the government's professed aspirations for an 'urban renaissance' of cultural inclusion and animation.

Date: 2006
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