Brian Kelly: Responsible drinkers gob-smacked

By Brian Kelly

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There is nothing more enjoyable than to get a group of mates together and go out to your favourite bar or restaurant for a drink or a meal, but what happened to a group of friends last Friday night at the Mount left them and me wondering.

A group of rugby buddies including a number of Junior All Blacks and Bay Steamers went to a bar last Friday night at the Mount to catch up with some friends.

It was around 9.15pm. The six mates walked up to the entrance of the bar only to be told by the guy on the door that they don't allow rugby players in the bar.

That just gob-smacked the guys. It was something they had never heard before.

It wasn't about the way they were dressed. They were all dressed to the standard required by the establishment.

It was only that they were rugby players - six respectable young men, going out to meet friends for a quiet evening and being turned away at the door because they were rugby players.

If that's not discrimination, I don't know what is.

The boys tried to reason with the man on the door, but he would not listen.

The strange thing was that the group they were meeting, already inside, were rugby players.

That has to be one of the most bizarre things I have heard in a long time ... being turned away from a bar because you are a rugby player.

Reluctantly the group moved on and found a friendlier establishment down the road.

And, no, they were not intoxicated. No doubt they will not return to that bar.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about service in one of my articles and how important it is to provide not good service but exceptional service.

This was a perfect example of appalling service and with an incident like that word of mouth and the social media could do a lot of damage to that particular bar.

Some friends of mine visiting from Auckland went out along The Strand last Saturday night just after the All Black/Australia test match had finished.

The bars along the waterfront strip were busy and crowded but they found a bar they liked and settled in for a while.

In an hour there were three fights, one involving a couple of women. They were less than impressed.

We are lucky to have a venue like The Strand that has some trendy bars and restaurants, but wander along on a Friday or Saturday night after 11pm and you take your life in your hands.

Arguing and drunken groups make The Strand at that time of night a less than desirable destination.

I know it's a concern to local police and authorities and they are constantly looking at ways to improve the area.

It's well and truly monitored by CCTV cameras. Any hint of trouble and the law quickly arrives. But it shouldn't have to be like that.

Unfortunately, a lot of the people frequenting those bars at that time of night are the 17- and 18-year-olds who really can't handle their drinks.

Close Up last Tuesday night featured an item on the after-hours emergency room at a hospital and the number of young drinkers that ended up in there was quite astounding

One emergency doctor blamed cheap alcohol and binge drinking; with the ambulance just waiting at the bottom of the cliff to scrape up the mess. He went on to say that they are just drinking themselves stupid and some were going right to the edge without realising it.

I know we probably all did it as teenagers, but a few years ago the alcopops were not available like they are today.

At the moment the debate is raging in Government circles as to what to do with alcohol reform.

Raising the drinking age is being looked at along with raising the minimum price of alcohol. Those are just two of a host of options our politicians are discussing.

To my way of thinking education is the best option of the lot, although I know it takes a lot of beating around the ears to get through to some people.

It all starts in the home.

Responsible parents breed responsible children, and consequently, responsible young adults.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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