A York street is set for a tonic with the approval of a bar, distillery and visitor attraction.

City of York planners have backed the development at 1 Rougier Street, which is currently known as the Society Lounge and Bar.

The building will be rebranded and known as ‘The Hooting Owl and Curious Cat Distillery.’

Work on the scheme is due to start next week, with the centre opening on February 1 next year.

Internally, the ground floor would provide a gin bar and distillery area, with tasting and experience areas on the first floor.

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Plans submitted to the council say the proposed use would provide 7 full-time jobs and 10 part-time jobs. It would open daily between pam and 11pm.

The property was part of the proposals for the development known as ‘Northern House,’ which would have seen the building demolished as part of the wider Roman Quarter development, whose site went on sale earlier this year.

A report by council planning staff said Hooting Owl currently operates on Barmby Moor making spirits including gin, vodka and rum. It would relocate its whole operation and also have a visitor attraction, with tours and tasting events.

The report says the site has been empty since the pandemic and there has been no public interest or objection to the scheme.

The scheme “is felt to be a positive benefit” which would generate activity in an area close to hotels and public transport.

The proposed use would outweigh any harm brought about by the loss of a night club, which has long been closed.

“Refusal on this basis could not be justified,” it said.

Recommending approval, council planners said the scheme would “contribute to York’s diverse economy and would complement the visitor experience.”

It would generate activity in the day and evening, would be compatible with existing businesses nearby and would not harm nearby residents. The scheme would not harm heritage assets in a Conservation Area.

“The highway and access impacts of the proposals have been addressed, in terms of deliveries. The site is located in a highly sustainable location in the city centre,” it added. Therefore, a range of local and national planning policies were met and the scheme should be approved.

Hooting Owl founder Dominic Dominic M’Benga, a businessman and former soldier, said today (Friday): “It’s very exciting. We have much to do. We have an opening date of February 1. We should hit that date no problem.”

He also told the Press: “We commence work next week, there will be some ripping out to do, the building needs fully splitting into two, into the bar and public area, and a full decoration.”