By James Atkinson

Licensing authorities have refused a liquor licence application by a Sydney operator whose venue had a history of sly grog trade, drunken brawls and sex on the premises.

The Secret Room on George St supposedly traded as a haven for "game playing activity", with pool tables, electronic games and DVD facilities available on the premises.

But the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA) heard that in October last year, police attended the premises and identified numerous patrons consuming alcohol including spirits, rice wine and beer. 

The duty manager told police she had sold and supplied this alcohol to the patrons in spite of admitting she was aware that the premises had no liquor licence. 

In another incident police conducted an inspection and observed patrons having sex on the premises in two separate rooms.

And in November last year, police were required to attend a street brawl between "extremely intoxicated" patrons who had been drinking inside the venue.

Blue Ketchup Pty Ltd, a newly established entity, recently converted the venue into a restaurant and sought to obtain a liquor licence arguing that the previous "incompetent" managers had been replaced with "totally new" directors and shareholders.

But in handing down its ruling last month, the ILGA was not convinced by this argument, pointing out that the person who applied for the liquor licence had also been involved with the venue in its Secret Room guise. 

"This attempt to distinguish the new business from the former business by reason of the removal of 'incompetent' staff… does not assuage the Authority's concerns regarding the applicant's personal lack of fitness to hold a liquor licence, based on the applicant's previous conduct of business on the premises," said ILGA chief executive David Greenhouse.

He dismissed the application for a liquor licence on the basis that the applicant was not a "fit and proper" person to ensure alcohol was served responsibly on the premises.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *