Blu Jaz Cafe, in trouble for overcrowding, has lost its appeal to keep its entertainment licence.
The popular nightspot in Bali Lane, which is known for live music and comedy shows, will no longer be allowed to host any public entertainment from next month, said the police last night after an independent board rejected its appeal.
The Public Entertainment Appeal Board (PEAB) had considered a number of factors in arriving at its decision to reject the appeal on Monday, said the police.
This included Blu Jaz's contribution to the arts and music scene in Singapore, but also the severity of the overcrowding offences that resulted in serious public safety concerns.
Other factors taken into consideration by the PEAB, an independent board with representatives from the legal, social, business and health sectors, included the nightspot's track record and remedial actions taken.
Blu Jaz Cafe's director Aileen Tan declined comment when contacted last night.
Asked last October what would happen if the nightspot's appeal failed, she had said: "The rent here is astronomical. Without entertainment, we will not be able to sustain it and will eventually have to close shop."
Blu Jaz had been served notice on Oct 8 last year that its public entertainment licence would be terminated as it had exceeded the limit for demerit points because of previous offences.
These included failing in July 2016 and November 2017 to ensure its windows and doors were closed.
There were also two overcrowding offences. On April 28 last year, the police found there were more than 150 people on the second floor of the cafe, which had an approved occupancy load of only 30 people.
In a follow-up check on May 5, close to 200 people were found on the same floor. This was more than six times the approved occupancy load.
The police said such severe overcrowding would have posed major safety risks to patrons and staff, especially in the event of a fire, and could result in a stampede if there was a need for evacuation.
With PEAB's rejection of the appeal, the police will proceed to cancel Blu Jaz Cafe's existing public entertainment licence.
While the three-storey venue, which has been around for 13 years, will still be allowed to operate its cafe, it will not be able to provide any form of public entertainment on its premises from Feb 1.
Earlier, the Kampong Glam community had also rallied behind the cafe by sending letters of appeal to the police.
An online petition that Blu Jaz Cafe set up last October had more than 4,700 signatures as of last night.
Describing Blu Jaz as an institution, DJ KoFlow said the latest news meant a big loss to the local music scene.
He said: "There are already few venues in Singapore for musicians to perform, and places which support local talent so strongly and encourage them to experiment, even fewer.
"This freedom to improvise and be in a place to be inspired by other musicians is super important for developing artists. Over time, it (Blu Jaz) has even cultivated an audience which does not mind listening to something different."