A Queenstown bar's colourful recent history of alleged
drug snorting, a drunk duty manager and a fight involving a
naked man has been aired as it battles for a new temporary
Footage of two men snorting a substance ''which was not
baking powder'' from a clipboard in the Powder Bar was shown
to the District Licensing Committee during a hearing in
The April CCTV footage showed a contracted DJ and a barman on
a work trial snorting the substance while behind the bar in
Searle Lane, with the general manager just feet away serving
Both men were ejected from the premises but police were not
told until several days later.
Liquor licensing Sergeant Linda Stevens and Queenstown Lakes
District Council liquor licensing inspector Jen Mitchell said
it was one of several incidents which gave cause for concern
over the applicant's suitability under the Sale and Supply of
Alcohol Act 2012.
The Powder Room, owned by Barra Pista Ltd, was formerly known
as the Mini Bar.
The new owners had been operating the bar under a temporary
authority since September.
Sgt Stevens said on November 23 there was an incident in the
bar, in which a naked male had bumped into another man who
The clothed man took exception to that and punched the naked
man, security intervened and police were called.
On December 10, police found the duty manager to be
intoxicated while behind the bar.
She had admitted drinking three wines and a breath test found
she was over the breath-alcohol limit of 400mcg.
On April 6, when Sgt Kate Pirovano visited the premises and
inquired about the availability of food she was advised there
was ''none there'' because the manager had ''chucked them out
the day before''.
Majority shareholder and company director Rajesh Patel, a
lawyer based in Sydney, said it was the first time he had
been the owner of a bar and the company had taken a ''firm
stance'' on actions which were ''prejudicial'' to the company
and contrary to the Act.
With regard to the snorting, Mr Patel said, based on CCTV
footage shown, ''it's safe to say it wasn't baking powder
they were using''.
The company had ''zero tolerance'' regarding the use of
Mr Patel said the employee who was found intoxicated on
premises while working was also fired.
With regard to the lack of food on site he said it had been
Lawyer Tanya Surrey, on behalf of the applicant, said the
company's application for a substantive on-licence had been
referred to the Alcohol Regulatory Licensing Authority
(ARLA), but no hearing date had been set.
The company wanted to continue trading under a temporary
licence until the matter had been heard by the ARLA.
''The company acknowledges that some of the issues raised by
the agencies are not ideal, however, these matters are now in
the past and previous temporary authorities have been issued
against this background.
''It is submitted a further temporary licence should be
granted for a period of three months from July 1.''
The committee, reserving its decision after yesterday's
hearing, will issue its findings within a fortnight.