Ilford bar could lose licence after playing music until early hours without permission

A bar in Ilford owned by a major promoter could be stripped of its licence after hosting music nights until the early hours, despite police warnings.

Adesegun Adeosun, the owner of Smade Lounge in Ley Street, was first told by Metropolitan Police he needed a specific licence to offer ‘regulated entertainment’ such as live shows.

Smade is only permitted to sell alcohol and offer late-night refreshment until 2am, as per the licensing conditions approved in 2021.

Adesegun, the co-founder and CEO of the annual music festival Afro Nation, had reportedly produced a music certificate when asked, but was told by officers this was not adequate.

In January this year – a year after first raising the issue with the owner – police found CCTV evidence of patrons dancing at the venue until 4.30am.

Officers had been reviewing the footage following reports of a nearby robbery, which had been reported at around 3.15am. PC Birch said he had been drawn to the fact police had received the call made more than two hours after the venue should have closed.

During a meeting with Redbridge Council’s licensing team, Adesegun admitted last entry to the bar was 2am – when it should be closing for the night.

The Met also uncovered a series of listings advertising Afrobeat-themed nights running until 4am every weekend in January and February.

In a report submitted to the authority’s licensing sub-committee, PC Dean Birch said the force had no other choice but to request Smade’s licence be revoked.

He said the management had shown an “unwillingness to work with police” and had been “clearly breaching” its licence.

PC Birch had sent Adesegun several emails about the issue, but had received no response. Adesegun reportedly told him that these emails had landed in his junk folder.

But despite the apparent breaches, some in the local area have defended the popular bar.

Emmanuel Clement, with Redbridge Community FC, said Smade Lounge had been a “vital contributor to our local economy and community”.

He argued it had created “skilled skilled training and job opportunities,” while bringing in people from outside the area and “generating revenue for local businesses”.

He added: “The one thing the borough has been enjoying recently is the bonding of its diverse culture.

“Smade Lounge has filled a void: it has the potential to serve as a cultural hub, hosting events, performances, and activities that celebrate the diversity and creativity of our community.”

The case was put before the council’s sublicensing committee at 10.30am on Tuesday.

A decision will be made within the next five days.

Sebastian Mann

Local democracy reporter