Serving minors results in 24-hour licensing bans for two bars

Two bars - one in Wanaka and the other in Arrowtown - have been penalised with 24-hour licensing bans after serving minors during alcohol ‘‘stings'', while the operators of a Queenstown bar where two minors were found drinking will learn its fate this morning.

The Bullock Bar in Ardmore St, Wanaka, was handed a 24-hour suspension during a meeting of the Liquor Licensing Authority in Queenstown yesterday.

Off-licence staff working at the venue sold alcohol to a minor during a controlled-purchase operation run by police on September 28 last year.

The venue's off-licence would be suspended from 7am on Friday, May 16, to 7am Saturday, Judge Bill Unwin and authority member Dr Jacqueline Horn ruled.

Arrow Thai Ltd in Ramshaw Lane, Arrowtown, also had its on-licence suspended for 24 hours after staff served a minor during a controlled-purchase operation on October 19 last year.

The suspension would run from 10am on May 16 to 10am on May 17.

A decision on a third establishment, Surreal Bar in Queenstown, is expected this morning. Police and council liquor licensing inspector Tanya Surrey yesterday sought a three-day suspension of the venue's on-licence, and a suspension of the general manager's certificate held by Erich Stadler, who is applying to renew his certificate.

The request followed the discovery of two minors, aged 16 and 17, found drinking in the bar by police at 2.45am on June 21 last year. The authority heard the pair had come in through a back door not monitored by security staff.

Mr Stadler told yesterday's hearing he was ‘‘quite furious'' to learn his barman, Kyle Goodwin, had not asked the minors for identification before serving them, despite training given to all staff.

Mr Goodwin, who was later fined in the Queenstown District Court, said at the time he had recognised the minors from other bars around Queenstown. He was also given a formal warning and extra training following the incident.

‘‘We do everything in our power to train the team that works for us in how and what they are supposed to be doing,'' Mr Stadler said.

Surreal licensee Melissa Stadler denied the bar had an ongoing problem with minors but conceded replacing the back entrance with a one-way door that only allowed patrons out was an ‘‘excellent'' suggestion.

Judge Unwin reserved his decision at the conclusion of yesterday's hearing, with the outcome to be announced this morning.

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