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George Town bars battle over hours

| 23/03/2015 | 0 Comments
CNS Business

Roof Top Lounge, Mary Street

(CNS Business): An application by the owner of the Roof Top Lounge on Mary Street to change the licence from a bar to a nightclub faced objections from other bar owners in the capital and allegations were flying back and forth at the liquor licensing board meeting Friday. Donna Myrie, who owns the cocktail-style bar, asked the board for permission to operate on Monday to Friday from 8pm until 3am but following a heated exchange with objectors, the board has deferred its decision until its next meeting in June.Myrie told the board that the bar would work better as a nightclub and that she was not able to make the venue work purely as a bar. She said that there was no reason for the board not to look favorably on the application as the Roof Top was attracting tourists who expected to be able to stay and drink late.

Describing the lounge as neither an expat nor a local bar but something in between, she said that nightclub hours would help her to turn around the venue, which is also open for special events and housed in the building she owns, which includes her long-standing shoe store on the ground floor.

However, Myrie’s application met with objections from several competitors in the area, including the owners of the Energy Lounge on Shedden Road. Mother and daughter team, Christine and Calicia Burke, argued that Myrie was not complying with her existing licence and that she should not be rewarded for that.

Represented by local attorney Waide Da Costa, the women raised concerns over parking, safety and security issues at the Roof Top Lounge and that liquor licence holders should not be able to “cherry pick” the hours they open. The objectors accused Myrie of being open past her current hours of operation and operating as a de facto nightclub without permission of the board.

The objectors said that while they were operating within the terms and conditions of their licence, the Roof Top had been flouting theirs. Myrie admitted that she was not opening until the afternoon for happy hour but denied opening beyond her current permitted hours of 1am, except when she had been granted a temporary extension.

The board deferred it decision following closed-door deliberations and the issue will be back on the agenda in June.

Meanwhile, an application by Whiskey Mist in the Strand to use the pavement outside as a smoking area was denied. The Jungle Bar & Lounge at Trafalgar Place, also along the West Bay Road, was given permission to extend the licensed premises to include the use of an outdoor deck.

The owner of the Dragon Inn Restaurant at the Mirco Centre was given permission for a change of location for the licence of that restaurant, which is closing, to a small store 828 in downtown George Town at the Bodmer building, also owned by Poh Lye Ch’ng, to allow him to sell booze from the mini-mart. The owner’s legal representative told the board that Ch’ng planned to import some so far unavailable Asian beers and revamp the store.

Probation continued for two bars that are under the watch of the Liquor Licensing Board.

Archie’s on Shedden Road has been under probation for several years, mostly as a result of illegal gambling issues and problems with an unsafe outdoor deck being used by patrons but which is not licensed. The venue will continue to be under watch until the owners complete renovations on the deck and get planning approval.

Pirates Cove in East End, which had been at the centre of a number of violent incidents, also remains on probation after police officers present at the meeting indicated that the bar was still a hotspot for trouble.

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Category: Food & Drink, Local Business, Uncategorized

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