Historic "student pub" the Bowling Green Tavern has been
bought by the University of Otago and will be turned into
academic offices to meet the university's "pressing need" for
research and teaching space.
The announcement about the fate of the often notorious
student pub, situated on the corner of Frederick and
Cumberland Sts, was made by vice-chancellor David Skegg at
the university council meeting yesterday.
University property services director Barry Mackay said the
building would be converted to office space for academics
from the health science department and would be renamed. The
car park would remain.
It was expected the space would be available for use by the
end of the year.
He declined to reveal how much was paid for the building as
it was "commercially sensitive".
Prof Skegg said the university could draw satisfaction from
the fact the pub, which has operated under various licence
holders since 1878, would be helping to meet the university's
need for more space for research for the health sciences.
"Under university ownership, this building will no longer
operate as a liquor outlet.
"The Bowling Green Hotel was a historic student pub, but it
has been involved in some inappropriate promotions in recent
years," Prof Skegg said.
In February 2007, emergency services and the university were
horrified when the general manager of the "Bowler", Mark
Deason, had 15,000 pamphlets printed advertising a swap
petrol-for-beer promotion, offering the chance to win a
petrol-soaked couch, complete with matches.
Along with the sofa, the promotion offered to swap punters a
litre of beer for a litre of petrol.
Mr Deason faced a charge of sedition for the act, which was
later dropped due to insufficient evidence, but the bar was
ordered to close for three days by the Liquor Licensing
Problems had started early in the 11-year tenure of Mr
Deason, with an opening special in 1998 which offered beer
for 5c a can.
The pub was closed for a further two days in February 2008
after being found with intoxicated patrons on its premises,
including one found slumped forward with a pool of vomit
around his feet.
In 2004, the bar was criticised for its Wife Beater Wednesday
promotion, the marketing manager who came up with the idea
being later sacked.
The most recent headache for Mr Deason was a reduction in
opening hours to 1am due to noise affecting patients at
About $60,000 worth of alterations would have been required
to soundproof the building and obtain a late licence,
something the property owner refused to assist hotel owner
RoseHill Properties Ltd with.
The 131-year-old hotel was established by Edward Holmes, who
was the licensee for three years. Many Dunedin people
remember the hotel as Zouga Ballantynes family restaurant in
There would be an auction of the lessee and vendors chattels
on March 24, Mr Mackay said.