Blow for Rhino’s

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A Queenstown bar will close for 48 hours after its duty manager served an under-age girl.

Rhino’s Ski Shack, on The Mall, was caught out by a routine police sting late last year.

Two Queenstown girls, aged 16 and 17, were sent into the underground bar together by the cops and managed to buy cider.

They were served by duty manager Matthew Fosdike, whose licence will be suspended for 28 days from Monday.

Disappointed Future Bars boss Bert Haines says the duty manager and bartender got their wires crossed over who asked the girls for ID.

“It’s a pretty big mistake.”

Haines says the process of ID-ing customers is a “massive” part of Future Bars’ training.

“It’s a big let-down because we take it seriously and train for it intensely.”

Future Bars agreed to the suspension of its licence, from 9am next Thursday.

Queenstown’s licensing cop, sergeant Tracy Haggart, says the two girls visited seven licensed premises and 17 off-licence premises in Queenstown, Arrowtown and Frankton on October 7.

“We had no sales at any of the others,” she says.

“In some cases they were stopped at the door.”

The previous ‘controlled purchase operation’ in Queenstown was in April, visiting 21 premises in total with no sales.

Haines says they’re standing by Fosdike, who’s been with the company more than a year, who he rates as a “really good DM”.

“I’ll say without a shadow of a doubt he’ll never make the mistake again.”

Haggart says the 48-hour licence suspension is standard for a first offence.

Haines wouldn’t put a figure on how much closing the bar on busy nights of peak season might cost.