Seven bars get 1.30am Christmas Day licence

Seven of the eight inner city bars seeking to stay open into Christmas Day will be allowed to trade until 1.30am.

The bars had been seeking a 3am finish, but Southern Break manager Yassine Al-Kaissi said last night the Dunedin City Council hearings committee decision released yesterday was a compromise which "could have been worse".

The bars which will be allowed to open are Southern Break, Pop, the 10Bar, Craft Bar, Ratbags, Di Lusso, and Barakah.

An eighth application from Metro, heard separately, was turned down.

Hearings committee chairman Cr Colin Weatherall said Metro would also be required to adhere to its existing hours on New Year's Eve.

Metro owner Robert Dale declined to comment last night.

Cr Weatherall said the bars had been allowed to stay open in the early hours of Christmas Day for the last few years without significant concerns being expressed, but on this occasion the move was opposed by police.

It was considered that in the case of the seven allowed to open until 1.30am, the decision was a reasonable "halfway house" between concerns expressed and what had happened in recent years.

The committee was also aware that because the applications had been so late there was practically no time to appeal to the Liquor Licensing Court before Christmas.

The decision by the committee on the seven applications made it clear that it related only to Christmas Eve and that it should not be taken as any inference on how the committee might deal with requests to open on other sacrosanct days - Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Anzac Day.

The committee also recognised that liquor law reforms were before Parliament, although at this stage it was still a living debate "without too much direction", Cr Weatherall said.

elspeth.mclean@odt.co.nz

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