Queenstown bar sanctioned by ARLA

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A Queenstown bar and restaurant has had its licence suspended for 48 hours by the Alcohol and Regulatory Licensing Authority.

Surreal licensee Melissa Stadler appeared before Judge John Hole in the Queenstown District Court on Monday, facing several breaches of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act relating to three separate incidents.

On October 16, Queenstown police found seven people inside the premises at 4.55am. Surreal is licensed to 4am.

Stadler says there had been a “gross error of judgement” on the duty manager’s behalf that morning. However, the only people consuming alcohol were three staff members.

On October 21 during covert Operation Overload, undercover police officers visited the premises at 1.25am.

Invercargill constable Melanie Robertson says she and a colleague saw one male become increasingly intoxicated, consuming several shots and mixed spirits over a 90-minute period.

They also saw an Asian female escorted from the premises due to her level of intoxication, and bar staff drinking shots.

When asking for food at 2.40am they were told it would take 30 minutes to prepare and the bar was closing in 20.

Constable Feleki Uhrle says he and two other officers, including liquor licensing sergeant Linda Stevens, visited the premises at 12.15am on August 3 for a compliance check and located two men who they took outside for assessment.

After speaking with the men, Uhrle says both were found to be intoxicated.

Following a hearing on Monday, Judge Hole asked Stadler to advise the authority of a weekend Surreal could be closed.

After a brief discussion on Tuesday, Judge Hole says a formal written decision would follow, but Surreal would have its licence suspended for 48 hours from 7am, November 1.

Powder room decision reserved

The Powder Room was back before the Alcohol and Regulatory Licensing Authority in Queenstown on Monday, with police seeking the cancellation of a duty manager’s certificate.

Judge John Hole reserved his decision regarding Charlotte McCubbine’s certificate over three alleged breaches of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act.

During a covert police operation on June 21, dubbed Operation Overload, intoxicated patrons were observed on site, staff were seen consuming shots and other alcohol, and patrons were purchasing several shots at once.

Visits by police on April 6 and August 2 also found insufficient food was available.

McCubbine had also allegedly worked illegally in New Zealand for nearly a month from April after her work visa expired, but she said she had not worked for almost a month from April until May 18 after filing her application a day late.

Her visa had been sponsored by Barra Pista Ltd, but the bar is now in the process of being sold to Tairoa Capital Ltd and paperwork had been filled out to transfer the sponsorship with Immigration New Zealand, she says.

Regarding the covert operation, McCubbine says two males were deemed by police to be showing signs of intoxication on site, while another intoxicated male was found outside the premises, in an area removed from The Powder Room’s licence.

He claimed to have consumed “five Jager bombs in 10 minutes” inside the bar, however, McCubbine says security had denied him entry and staff had no recollection of him being inside.

She was notified of the incidents in August, but by then was unable to check CCTV footage.

Sergeant Stevens says patrons were observed being asked to leave by security due to their intoxication, however, “they were allowed to remain for 15 minutes to consume the rest of their drinks”.

The Powder Room changed its policy after winter festival, with staff no longer permitted to consume shots, but they could have one drink an hour.

The Powder Room was last before the authority in June. It was issued a three-month temporary authority after incidents involving alleged drug snorting, a drunk duty manager and a fight that had involved a naked man.

– Otago Daily Times