Guilty boss pleads insanity over diners’ 10pm curfew

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Queenstown publican Barry Ellis is bamboozled by planning commissioners refusing to allow his Guilty Bar to serve drinks outdoors after 10pm.

Two Queenstown Lakes District Council commissioners ruled increased noise from external drinking and dining would breach CBD district plan guidelines.

Apartment dwellers in the Cooper building opposite Guilty in Ballarat Street would be particularly affected, they said.

Ellis, who may appeal, says “it’s not as if we’re trying to create something new because there are bars operating after 10 o’clock at night outside – with consent”.

One of those, Barmuda in Searle Lane, will soon have a 350-bed backpackers as a neighbour, he points out. Ellis also wants QLDC to monitor other bars with similar outdoor drinking/dining curfews.

He raised this with a duty manager at neighbouring Brazz, across the road from Guilty, at 10.17pm last Tuesday.

But Brazz owner Pete Jefford says his outdoor patrons are allowed half an hour’s “drink-up” time after 10pm.

Ellis would be happy opening his outside area just during summer months, he says.

“There’s nothing worse than having to tell a diner at 10 o’clock he’s got to pack up his dinner and move inside if it’s still dusk.”

The only slack the commissioners cut Guilty was to allow smokers to use the outdoor area after 10pm rather than the public footpath.