Booze barons not too neighbourly

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A war of words has erupted between an Auckland newcomer to the Queenstown bar scene and a resort booze baron. 

Leo Molloy, who’s bringing his Cowboy bar concept to Queenstown’s Searle Lane, is butting heads with Good Group chairman Al Spary – owner of neighbouring watering hole Barmuda. 

Molloy, who had been in discussions with Spary to seek sign-off for an outdoor smokers’ area at Cowboy, claims: “[Spary] rang me and said, ‘we would support you if you sign over half the bar to me’.” 

Spary tells Mountain Scene Molloy’s claim is an “absolute fiction”. 

Spary says he and Molloy had originally discussed opening a Cowboy in Queenstown on a 50/50 basis. 

“We worked towards this but eventually we decided not to pursue this,” Spary says. 

“Never did I say that he was to sign over 50 per cent to us – that’s absolute fiction.” 

Spary says he’d support Molloy’s application but was worried his bars would be unfairly blamed for any noise problem so wanted a “mechanism” to solve it “via remedial work or cessation”. 

An email supplied by Spary shows he wrote to Molloy’s planner Scott Freeman last Friday to say Good Group definitely wouldn’t oppose any application “as that is not something we do”. 

Molloy, who’s started other successful Auckland hospitality businesses including Euro and Danny Doolans, says he hoped Queenstown “would welcome me with open arms”. 

However, Molloy further claims in a heated discussion on the phone yesterday that Spary referred to him as “the lowest c .. t of all time”. 

Spary denies saying that but admits telling Molloy to “get f …. d” before hanging up. 

Molloy is now seeking to avoid the noise issue by deleting his proposed smokers’ zone. 

Spary: “The only noise issue is the one emanating from his mouth, as Auckland will be well aware of.”