17 July 2017

Namibia: Funky Lab Shutdown Due to Objection Over Liquor Licence

Windhoek — Funky Lab Social Café, co owned by Thomas Nakasole and Big Brother 8 winner Dillish Matheus, was temporarily shut down on June 13, when Maerua Mall's body corporate objected to the establishment obtaining a liquor licence.

It is alleged the objection to the liquor licence came as a result of unruly behaviour in and around the popular establishment. The social hangout was on an initial trial run and was thus operating on a temporary permit to verify whether the Funky Lab brand was still viable since shutting down in late 2000.

The popular spot, situated on the ground floor at 31 Maerua Mall, opened it's doors in May after relocating from Klein Windhoek to the old Mug 'n Bean premises at the mall.

The café started attracting new and old clientele, as word about the new hang out spread fast. The new and improved café found themselves in a bit of a sticky situation, though, as Funky Lab's media consultant, Wat Abraham, explained.

He said: "Not all our papers were in order as our licence was taking longer than expected [to be processed]. The restaurant was doing well, so we had to properly evaluate how we wanted to present our business to our clients."

Co-owner Thomas Nakasole pointed out that business was going well but that the Maerua Mall corporate body legally objected to the social café's liquor licence. Nakashole noted that a hearing on August 3 will determine whether they will obtain their licence.

"We're in a situation where we have 50 staff members at the moment without any income, service providers not being paid and charity programmes that have been put on hold till this matter is solved," he said while maintaining that they still are still contractually bound to pay the monthly rental fee of N$60,000 to the owners.

Nakashole explained there is a misconception that Funky Lab is a club, which is not the case, saying it is "a social café" where revellers are not required to pay a fee to enter.

Meals are served from the morning till late in the afternoon, with under 18s not allowed to enter from a certain hour, thus making it a social café. Nakasole maintained that they have strict security that does not allow anyone to enter or leave the premises with alcohol.

A representative of the Maerua Mall Body corporate said they were not prepared to comment as the matter is before the court.

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