THE owner of Mare Moto nightclub fears he will be forced to close if he fails in an appeal against cuts to his opening hours.
Luigi Ferrara opened the popular Fulham nightspot three years ago but faces an uncertain future after a police clampdown after complaints about noise, anti-social behaviour and over-crowding.
The 64-year-old restaurateur saw his King's Road club raided by police in November last year with a council licensing committee ruling its opening hours should be slashed from 2am to 12.30am in January.
Mr Ferrara will appeal that decision in court but is concerned failure could lead to him shutting down. He admits previous failings but said he has made drastic improvements.
“We accept the fact that we we overdid it and the police we right in what they did,” he said. “We are appealing because we are a dinner and dance venue. As much as we have a nice package, without the nightclub we would have shut down a long time ago. If we don't succeed in the appeal I might have to shut down. I can't go on with just a midnight licence.
“I had so many letters and support and the number of people who are upset about it and all we want is to work together with the council. We are not villains and are listening people.”
Mare Moto can continue to trade until 2am until their appeal hearing in the next few months and Mr Ferrara has increased security with five bouncers working on their busiest nights.
“It is unfortunate because we are a victim of our success,” he said. “I care about young people and we are a very genuine operation and that is why I couldn't understand the ferocity against us.
“People are asking if we are closed down and it has financially damaged us and our reputation. The police are working with us and we have a new management structure.
“We have complete control of the door so we have very little queueing. We just hope common sense comes through.”
The bar has received support from the community desperate not to see it forced to close.
Sarah White, a lifestyle blogger at South West Six , said: “With the ever-increasing amount of high street chain restaurants in Fulham, we adore the authenticity and Italian hospitality of Mare Moto.
“Having been on numerous occasions to eat, drink and dance we have never experienced anything but fantastic service and a safe environment.”