Later drinking curfew on cards

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‘Last drinks’ outside Queenstown’s Steamer Wharf bars and restaurants could be extended from 10pm till midnight.

Ivy & Lola’s restaurant and Pub on Wharf are applying for a midnight curfew on a 12-month trial basis.

Their resource consent application, however, is about to be amended to include all Steamer Wharf bars and restaurants with outdoor areas, including popular venues Pier 19, Boiler Room, Finz, Public and Atlas.

Currently, a 10pm curfew on outdoors drinking applies to all Queenstown CBD bars and restaurants, to try to reduce late-night noise for passers-by and downtown residents.

If the Steamer Wharf midnight trial is successful, there’s bound to be pressure to apply that curfew to the entire CBD.

Steamer Wharf landlord Johnny Stevenson says many visitors find it strange they have to take their drinks inside at 10pm.

“In mid-summer, it’s bloody twilight,” Stevenson says.

He says hospitality staff have a tough job explaining to visitors why they can’t stay outside longer.

“People fly all around the world to get here, some of them in their own planes, and the poor hospitality staff have to go out and debate with them about why they should have to head inside at 10 o’clock – it’s like the Arrowtown kindergarten.”

Pier 19 co-owner Grant Hattaway says lifting the 10pm curfew is long overdue.

“When the sun sets [in mid-summer] it’s past 10 o’clock, and we’ve got Europeans and South Americans sitting out the front eating and drinking.

“What, are they meant to pick up their bottle and food and go and sit inside?

“The Earnslaw steamer [by Steamer Wharf] makes noise past 10 o’clock at night and that doesn’t seem to upset anyone.

“To sell [Queenstown] as a package, overseas, you can’t close the doors at 10.”

Queenstown council’s resource consenting manager, Blair Devlin, says the 12-month trial is awaiting the written approval of adjacent apartment owners.

“It is proposed to undertake noise monitoring throughout the trial.”