Bar can trade, on strength of new manager

A Queenstown bar with a colourful recent history has been granted a temporary authority by the Queenstown Lakes District Licensing Committee under the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act, with reduced hours.

Earlier this month, the Otago Daily Times reported Barra Pista Ltd, owners of The Powder Room - formerly known as Mini Bar - had applied for the new authority, which would enable it to operate until its application for a new on-licence had been determined.

However, the application for the temporary authority was opposed by Queenstown police and the Queenstown Lakes District Council, both parties concerned about the applicant's suitability.

Incidents since September last year included a fight involving a naked man; a drunk duty-manager; another manager working without a work visa; no food on the premises; and a contracted DJ and a barman on a work trial snorting a substance, alleged to be cocaine, from a clipboard behind the bar.

There were further issues with advertising promotions, including some involving shots of alcohol. In its decision, the committee said the onus was on the company to prove on the balance of probabilities it was a ''suitable entity'' to hold a temporary authority.

''Given its history ... we certainly had concerns about this issue. We accept there have been no incidents for two months but it has been a quieter time between seasons with less pressure.

''What has persuaded us to grant the application is the presence of a [new] clearly competent manager. We have confidence that with his guidance and direction, the object of the Act will be more likely to be achieved.''

However, given the object of the Act, the type of business and the company's management and trading history to date, the committee thought it necessary to reduce the trading hours to ''reduce the risk of alcohol-related harm ... and give the police and inspector more opportunity to monitor the premises''.

The committee granted the authority from July 1 to September 1, or until the application for an on-licence had been determined.

It also noted it ''anticipates the company may wish to review its promotion of shots''.