Byron Bay nightclub La La Land has been slapped with a range of sanctions by the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing (OLGR) after undercover agents found the venue in breach of five of the 10 voluntary guidelines agreed to by the Byron Bay Liquor Accord.
The venue committed the breaches less than a fortnight after signing the agreement.
If found to be in breach again, the nightclub’s licensee could be fined up to $11,000 or face a 12-month jail term.
OLGR director of compliance Paul Newson said La La Land’s failure to abide by the Byron Bay Liquor Accord trial conditions as agreed in writing ‘demonstrated a lack of commitment to contribute to reducing the risk of alcohol-related harm in Byron Bay’.
On Saturday night April 27, La La Land was found to be letting in punters after the agreed 1.30am lockout time, selling alcoholic energy drinks after 2am, serving more than four drinks to a single patron after midnight, serving a ‘shot’ over ice with a slice of lemon and failing to provide security guard patrols as agreed.
Less than a month later, on May 18, a barman was observed advising a punter how to circumvent the ‘no shot’ restrictions. The patron, along with the bar staff member, then rapidly consumed two drinks ‘like a shot’.
The venue was told on May 24 that OLGR was considering imposing restrictions after uncovering the breaches.
The licensee claimed that the venue ‘misinterpreted’ the requirements of the Accord’s terms, but the assertion was rejected by OLGR, which has now imposed the conditions on its licence.
Effective from tomorrow, Friday 6 September, La La Land must ensure:
- a 1:30am lockout on all nights;
- a four-drink limit per person after midnight;
- no energy drinks with alcohol are sold after 2am;
- no shots or ‘shooters’ are sold at any time.
Mr Newson said the conditions imposed on La La Land’s licence should send a clear message to the licensee and other industry members that if voluntary steps are not taken to protect the community from alcohol-related harm or are disregarded, then mandatory measures may be imposed on venues under the Liquor Act.