Owner of Britain's last Temperance Bar admits drink driving
The owner of Britain’s last temperance bar has admitted drink driving.Christopher Law, 52, who owns the 120-year-old Fitzpatrick’s bar in Rawtenstall, Lancs, pleaded guilty to the charge at Burnley magistrates’ court. He was banned from driving for 17 months.
Temperance bars, which originated in Lancashire in the late 19th century, advocated abstinence from alcohol, often asking patrons to sign a pledge and renounce the demon drink. They were also the first outlet for Vimto in the early 20th century.
Mr Law recently appeared on television with “The Hairy Bikers”, Dave Myers and Si King, extolling the virtues of the wide range of non-alcoholic drinks which he serves.
He showed almost twice the legal alcohol limit when stopped by police at 2.30am in Burnley last month. He was fined £110 and ordered to pay court costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.
Contacted at his bar today, Mr Law said that he did not think he had been breaking the law despite drinking about “three-quarters of a bottle of wine”.
“I didn’t think I was over the limit,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
He also questioned the publicity surrounding the case, insisting: “It is just a drinking-driving offence”. He declined to comment further.
Mr Law, formerly a pipe fitter, bought Fitzpatrick’s bar 12 years ago. It has been selling remedies and non-alcoholic drinks such as sarsaparilla and dandelion and burdock since 1890 and attracts tourists from across the world.
Its shop sells Blackbeer and Raisin, Ginger Beer, Cream Soda, Lemon and Ginger and Blood Tonic. The temperance movement declined after a wave of imported, sugary drinks from the United States.
The Rawtenstall bar was the only one of the Fitzpatrick family’s 30 bars to survive. The family of herbalists were from Dublin, but moved to Lancashire.
In an earlier interview, Mr Law said: “I used to come in here as a kid.
“I was at a point in my life when I just knew that I had to take it on.