THE owner of a town centre bar has hit back at critics after a fight broke out at his business in the early hours of the morning.

Police were called to The Lounge Bar in Market Place, Braintree, at around 3am on Saturday following reports a man had been punched in the face.

Two men from Braintree were arrested at the scene by officers and taken into custody for questioning.

A 22-year-old man, who was arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm, assaulting an emergency worker, affray and possession of cannabis, has since been released under investigation.

A second man, 41, who was arrested on suspicion of affray and common assault, has also been released under investigation.

Charlton Higgins, owner of The Lounge, says the incident saw his business getting a “backlash” on social media and he has sought to set the record straight by insisting the venue is one of the safest in Braintree.

He said: “There was an altercation which was quickly dealt with by our door staff.

“There were rumours about someone being glassed but that is just not true. One of our windows was damaged so it might have been a case of Chinese whispers but there was no bottle involved in the incident.

“We’ve had quite a backlash and people have been calling the bar a dive which is not fair.”

Mr Higgins and his team took over the bar five years ago and he insists hard work to restore the venue’s reputation is paying off.

He added: “It’s been hard trying to turn this place around what with the reputation it had before we took over. It was quite an unsavoury place.

“We are proud of what we have achieved and the changes that have already been made.

“We are one of the safest bars in town now and we have a great door team. You will always get incidents like this from time to time when people have been drinking alcohol.

“It happens everywhere but these incidents are rare now which shows the good work we have been doing.”

Anyone with information about the incident on Saturday should call Essex Police on 101.