Bars may miss out on cup fans

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JU­LIAN RAETHEL

RUGBY fans in Auck­land may need to look else­where for a pint dur­ing this year’s World Cup.

The sport’s show­piece event is only months away but bars will be re­stricted in what games they can show.

Auck­land Coun­cil’s pro­posed Lo­cal Al­co­hol Pol­icy will con­tinue to see on­li­cence trad­ing hours within the CBD cease be­tween 4am and 8am.

Oth­ers out­side the cen­tral city zone will need to shut their doors at 3am, an hour ear­lier than en­forced by the Sale and Sup­ply of Al­co­hol Act of De­cem­ber 2012.

The prob­lem is most of the big Rugby World Cup matches, which kick off in Septem­ber, fall in­side those times.

There are 25 games af­fected, in­clud­ing the All Blacks’ open­ing match against Ar­gentina, the quar­ter­fi­nals, semi­fi­nals and the grand fi­nal which kicks off at 5am.

Coun­cil al­co­hol li­cens­ing man­ager Rob Ab­bott says premises can ap­ply for spe­cial li­censes to the Dis­trict Li­cens­ing Com­mit­tee (DLC).

‘‘Whether it is­sues them is its pre­rog­a­tive – they will as­sess each ap­pli­ca­tion. The DLC ap­proved spe­cial li­cences for a small amount of bars dur­ing the Fifa World Cup, with most hav­ing just se­lect days dur­ing the pe­riod of the cup, in other words, not the whole time.

‘‘Coun­cil li­cens­ing in­spec­tors were happy with the com­pli­ance of premises.’’

This means bars would need to host an ‘‘event’’ ex­clu­sive to their premises, with the fo­cus of the event not on the tele­vised fea­ture of a sports match.

As of June 12 the coun­cil had only re­ceived one ap­peal re­gard­ing the LAP, which wasn’t from a bar or res­tau­rant.

Venue man­ager at down­town bar The Fox Tav­ern Justine Smith says she’s happy to meet the coun­cil half­way so they can open for the games.

How­ever, in the past it has been ‘‘ex­tremely dif­fi­cult’’ and ex­pen­sive to open for cus­tomers want­ing to watch pop­u­lar events like the Fifa World Cup and FA Cup Fi­nal since the rule changes in 2012, she says.

‘‘Po­lice just want to keep the ar­eas safe . . . which is what we want,’’ Smith says.

‘‘But coun­cil don’t seem pre­pared to budge. They seem to think that if they did it with us it would cre­ate a land­slide of bars want­ing to do the same.’’

Smith says the bar will ap­ply for a spe­cial li­cence.

‘‘It’s not about at­tract­ing drinkers, it’s about sports fans,’’ Smith says. ‘‘We’ve had so many dads bring­ing their boys in for the early morn­ing games,’’ Smith says.

Ro­gan Thick­ett is duty man­ager of The Padding­ton Bar and Res­tau­rant in Par­nell. She says the pol­icy will hurt busi­ness.

‘‘Be­cause we’re a sports bar we rely heav­ily on sports games, es­pe­cially the All Blacks. Forty per cent of our take on a Fri­day night, for ex­am­ple, would come from peo­ple watch­ing a game.’’

Sian Kerr is duty man­ager of the Fort Lane bar The Right Track and says if peo­ple want to watch a game at 4am, they’ll drink re­gard­less. Changes to clos­ing times have helped clean up the streets, Kerr says, but ex­cep­tions should be made.

‘‘In any other sit­u­a­tion I per­son­ally don’t see why any­one should be out af­ter 4am. But they need to con­sider sports played at that time.’’


An All Blacks game is al­ways a big draw­card for pubs.

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