TIME has been called on two of Bournemouth's town centre bars amid claims that the effect of the smoking ban has begun to bite.

Label, on Old Christchurch Road, and Bar Med, on St Peter's Road, will pull their last pint tomorrow night.

Owner Laurel Pub Company is close to administration after failing to find buyers for almost 100 loss-making pubs, including the two Bournemouth bars, nationwide.

The closures are expected to affect between 30 and 40 staff in Bournemouth, though Laurel say they will be doing their "utmost to relocate staff where possible".

A Laurel spokesman said: "It's down to the smoking ban which came into effect last summer, and the difficult trading conditions with the on-going economic situation."

Laurel also own Yates's, Slug and Lettuce, Litten Tree and La Tasca outlets in Bournemouth and Poole but insist these are not under threat.

Only last year, another Laurel pub in Bournemouth, the Tapp and Hobbit in the Square, was converted to a La Tasca tapas restaurant to try and boost business.

Bar Med has been a Bournemouth nightlife staple for the best part of a decade and has always proved popular, especially with students.

Label was previously a Slug and Lettuce bar before the Slug moved to its current site on Richmond Hill.

Property entrepreneur Robert Tchenguiz is poised to place his entire Laurel Pub Company in the hands of administrators, before launching an immediate bid to buy back the business with the exception of the loss-making sites.

Laurel runs around 460 outlets across the UK.

Weymouth's Hogshead pub is also to close its doors tomorrow.