Fights outside Octagon bar spark police concern

Vault 21 in The Octagon. Image: Google Maps
Vault 21 in The Octagon. Image: Google Maps
Police have recommended Octagon bar Vault 21 not receive a full three-year liquor licence after a pair of bar fights in recent months.

A meeting of the Dunedin City Council’s district licensing committee met yesterday to consider the bar’s application.

The panel was asked to issue a truncated licence period of either one year or 18 months after police officers saw fights break out in the bar twice on the weekend of the All Blacks v Fiji rugby test.

Ian Paulin
Ian Paulin
In one altercation, early on Saturday, July 10, an intoxicated man was punched to the ground, and a group was ejected from the bar as a result.

Early the next night, a male patron head-butted another man.

The offender was arrested and issued a formal warning.

AND Hospitality Group Ltd applied for a renewal of the on-licence for Vault 21 in February of this year.

A licence was not issued after a hearing in June and the applicants were instructed to update their application paperwork and implement the ServeWise host responsibility programme.

They were given three months to fix these aspects and the panel was pleased with the progress in these areas, but the subsequent fights had concerned police.

Alcohol harm prevention officer Sergeant Ian Paulin said officers had performed compliance checks on five occasions since the previous hearing, and on two of these visits had seen fights break out.

He said it was not known how common fights were in the bar, but it was not common for police to encounter fights in the course of a compliance check.

‘‘I’ve done probably close to 1000 licensed premises visits in the time that I’ve been a police officer. It’s really rare that you walk into a licensed premises and see a fight in front of you.’’

He said a shorter licence would be prudent to allow the committee to check the improvements implemented by the applicants had continued to bear fruit.


Vault 21 is clearly struggling to manage the intoxication of its patrons as highlighted by the many fights reported. I believe the wider public strongly supports the police in their efforts to bring this place under control.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter