A HOTEL’S bid to serve drinks to diners from 9am sparked a debate over whether a bacon roll or bowl of cereal was a "substantive" breakfast.

The operator of No.12 Hotel & Bistro, Quality Street, North Berwick asked East Lothian Council's licensing board to allow him to open the bar early for visiting customers so they could enjoy "breakfast cocktails".

However, the move led to discussions about what constituted the first meal of the day, after it was agreed that alcohol could only be served with it.

Sean McCashey said that No.12 was known for its breakfasts with visitors who stayed in the town’s B&Bs, and added that other hotels often sent guests to them for their first meal of the day.

He told the board that the early drinks licence – which would allow the hotel to serve alcohol to customers from 9am to 11pm during the week and 9am to midnight on Saturday – would mean that visitors received the same service as hotel residents, who could be given alcohol.

And he said that patrons would only be allowed two alcoholic drinks between 9am and 11am and would only be served if it was with a "‘substantive breakfast”.

'Not be considered a meal'

He told the board: “A slice of toast or a bowl of cereal would not be considered a meal in this case.”

Asked if a bacon roll would be considered a meal, Mr McCashey added: “A meal would have to be a plated meal using a knife and fork.”

Police Scotland lodged an objection, reminding the board that the hours would be outwith its policy and against Scottish Government recommendations that on-sales should not exceed 14 hours a day seven days a week.

Despite the objection, the board unanimously approved the early morning drinks licence with conditions that alcohol would only be served with a "substantive plated meal" and by the glass to avoid bottles of wine being ordered.