Drunk man's strip antics costly for bar

By Kristin Edge


A Whangarei bar faces closure for 24 hours after a Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority hearing found rules were breached when a drunk man tried to strip on the dance floor.

Authority chairman Judge John Hole reserved his decision after the hearing in the Whangarei District Court on Tuesday, but he indicated the bar would close on March 30 (Easter Saturday) as a penalty for the breach.

Duty manager Hannah Allnut was working on October 28 last year when the police visited Rynoz during Operation Annabel, a sting to test compliance with the Sale of Liquor Act in licensed central city premises.

Breaches at Whangarei bars included having uncertified security staff, allowing intoxicated people, and failure to provide substantial food on request.

Police applied for suspension of Rynoz's onlicence and for the suspension of the general manager's certificate.

Police said a member of Rynoz staff had told a "patron" who was part of the police operation that there was no food available after 9pm, which was an alleged breach.

Giving evidence, the police area commander for Whangarei/Kaipara, Inspector Tracy Phillips, said she had approached Ms Allnut about 1.40am and asked to be shown the kitchen. Ms Phillips said the stone grills were hot and there was plenty of food in the fridge. Ms Allnut had appeared angry that a staff member had said there was no food available as there clearly was.

Ms Allnut said the man who had started undressing had spotted police and started playing up and was escorted outside by security officers. She said he had appeared intoxicated when he first entered the bar. He had been served water, but no alcohol.

The authority heard an application for the suspension of the onlicence for Bank Street Social Club and the suspension of the manager's licence. The social club was also targeted in Operation Annabel and was visited by "volunteers' on October 27 last year. Staff asked if food was being sold said the kitchen was closed but when police came in a short time later food was available. Judge Hole reserved his decision.

Staff at The Funky Fish Cafe at Bayly's Beach sold alcohol to an underage drinker during a sting, but realised their mistake and took steps to rectify the situation. However, it was deemed a breach of liquor laws.

Police applied for the suspension or cancellation of the cafe onlicence and to have an application for a manager's licence declined.

Judge Hole said it was the third time the cafe had sold to underage drinkers over the past four years. He adjourned the case.

- Northern Advocate

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