Help save The TapHouse in Villefranche!
A much-loved bar for great live music is fighting to survive after their permits were not renewed. Help save a local business!
A favourite local bar for live music and a fun atmosphere, The TapHouse in Villefranche-sur-Mer is facing elimination due to unexplained restrictions on permit renewals. Owner, Beth Curtis, a resident of Villefranche for over 20 years, has started a petition to appeal the denial of the permits she has had for the last few years so that she won’t lose her business.
The TapHouse has only been open for three years, but Beth, originally from London, managed to turn it into one of the most sought-after bars east of Nice. Her warm, friendly welcome and her impeccable choice in live music groups put the local bar on the map in her very first year of business.
Beth is very discerning about the quality of the bands playing, saying it’s one of the most important choices for providing an enjoyable evening out. Her formula worked - with top local and international artists in varied and fun genres like funk, soul, blues, reggae and jazz. The TapHouse quickly became a place renowned musicians requested to play. And the locals loved it! In fact, in an early interview with Channel 4 UK TV, the Villefranche Mayor was a big supporter, asking Beth if she was planning to have live music as it is an asset to the town, bringing in visitors and entertaining them into the night.
Then Covid hit and the confinement was a disaster for just about every public business. With the reopening of terraces last season, the Taphouse quickly got in gear to reopen. However, the city denied Beth’s request to renew her 2:30 am licence, forcing her to close the bar at 00:30 am and turn away customers at midnight. Not an ideal situation for a bar. Nevertheless, The TapHouse re-stocked booked music acts and reopened.
According to Beth, the city of Villefranche kindly offered all the businesses free terrace space, however, Beth hadn't lodged a formal application as it had been granted for free. Then, at the end of September 2020, she was issued with a letter stating that due to her delay in the application, the 2021 terrace space was being denied. Beth quickly responded with an application.
Shortly after, the second confinement was ordered with barely two days’ notice. This was a big blow to businesses, offering no warning to stop food & drink orders nor the chance to sell what was already stocked.
This year, when bars were finally given the go-ahead to open, the city of Villefranche-sur-mer again denied Beth’s renewal for the 2:30 am permit and, even more devasting, they denied her terrace permit as well. After several requests for explanation and no evidence of complaints lodged against the establishment, Beth is wondering why the city is practically forcing her out of business.
Riviera Insider contacted the city of Villefranche-sur-mer for comment but has not yet received a response.
Currently, the TapHouse remains closed. Beth tells RI that after having to dump thousands of euros worth of stock including beer barrels after the last closure, she just cannot justify re-stocking and re-opening without the space to serve her clients outdoors. “Restocking the bar is a killer and opening without a terrace is not financially viable,” she says.
At a loss for what else she can do to survive, Beth has started a petition to appeal the permit denial and get the city to review her case. She needs to get at least 1,000 signatures and she is over halfway there.
If you would like to help The TapHouse endure, visit the Facebook page or change.org/thetaphouse to sign the petition. Beth emphasises that the petition is completely free to sign, although Change.org looks like it asks for a donation. She is NOT asking for a donation, nor do you need to pay the website in order to sign. Just click ‘No Thanks’ and move on to the petition.
We sincerely hope that this much-loved community locale can remain in business and once again fill the Villefranche evenings with fun music and a convivial atmosphere.