Friday, 25 July 2008

Queenstown fascists bankrupting bar owners

From left Jason Clark, Adam Marshall and Ben Eastwood of Wanaka practice mixing cocktails on Sunday 050205 Award-winning bar owner Jason Clark is facing closure by council bullies intent on snuffing out late-night pleasure in the twenty-four hour tourist town.

Clark's highly popular cocktail and entertainment bar in Queenstown, Debajo, has a 24-hour licence, but council wowsers are now trying to get all bars to close at 4am, and to do that they're making an example of just two bars which they insist must start closing early -- by order! -- and as early as next week.

This is not just an argument about opening hours. Debajo make around a third of its income in the hours after 4am, with entertainment through to 8am.   And since all the other bars in town will still have 24 hour licenses, all the punters will head off to the other bars while Clark is forced to close at the time he usually makes most of his income, destroying his business.

LL mixology 33 copy Clark is a responsible host and Debajo is one of the top bars in Queenstown. He has been nominated as barman of the year. He competes in many competitions in the hospitality world, and is taking his good old dad to Rarotonga in two weeks for an expenses-paid holiday courtesy of a competition he won for a new cocktail involving rum, pineapple, liquid nitrogen and a blow torch. He has also been chosen by Beefeater Gin to represent them in the world championships. This is not just a regular barman - this is his chosen career - he's damn good at it -- and fascist wowsers are trying to close him down.

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  1. They can't legally do this - they have no grounds. They can deny building/planning consent for licence hours for a new owner of a bar, but existing owners cannot be bullied this way.

    They can attempt to deny renewal of a licence, which will, sadly, cost the bar some money in representation, but if they try taking it to the Liquor Licensing Authority, they'll probably just get laughed at.

    I'll email these guys and see if they need a hand.

  2. Good on you Blair!

  3. Ultra vires.

    Who is going to close the bar down at 4am? The police certainly won't.

  4. Queenstown/ Christchurch: tourists get the drunks slowly walking about wanting interaction. Then there was the bottle in the eye recently... who pays for that?

  5. The Queenstown lakes district council wouldn't know if the sun shined at 4am. They are so far removed fro our lifestyle they have no clue what happens after 2am. Why should we go to bed just because they say so!
    The majority of people out after 4am in Queenstown are bartenders, musicians, security staff & those who are really enjoying the music & didnt abuse the happy hours in the backpacker bars earlier in the night!

    These people are the cogs in the machine that drive this hospitality & tourism fueled town. Why should they suffer?

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