IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Petition against 3am liquor deadline

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 12, 2013.

Nightclubs, pubs and restaurant operators of 21 outlets in Clarke Quay are appealing against the new liquor licensing hours which will take effect in the area on Oct 1.

The new rule bans the sale of alcohol after 3am on Sundays and weekdays, but operators are hoping the police and Liquor Licensing Board will consider a 4am deadline instead.

Currently, tenants with a liquor licence can sell liquor to patrons until 6am.

They also want the authorities to ban convenience stores within a 1km radius of Clarke Quay from selling alcohol, and to designate the Clarke Quay Read Bridge, an area known as a gathering point for youths to loiter and drink alcohol, as a no-alcohol zone.

The Straits Times understands that a petition signed by operators of 21 outlets in Clarke Quay was submitted to the Clarke Quay management on Aug 1.

The outlets include nightspots Fenix Room, Shanghai Dolly, Dream, Attica, Crazy Elephant and restaurant Hooters Singapore, and make up one-third of the total number of tenants in Clarke Quay.

The petition, led by LifeBrandz chief executive Bernard Lim, who manages several nightspots in the area including Fenix Room, Dream, Mulligan's Irish pub and live music venue Aquanova, called for leniency in the curtailment of liquor licensing hours to provide tenants with options to vary their closing hours.

A copy of the petition obtained by The Straits Times read: "Particularly on Fridays with high visitorship, there will be serious concerns for crowd and traffic control if all patrons decide to leave their respective clubs at 3am as constrained by the new policy limit."

The petition also highlighted another concern: the "ready option of cheaper liquor from nearby convenience stores", which contributes to a large percentage of the alcohol consumption in the public spaces of Clarke Quay area.

"When left unchecked and coupled with lack of social accountability from the convenience stores, this often perpetuates public disorder and social nuisances," it said.

In response to queries from Life!, a police spokesman would only say: "Police confirm we received and are assessing an appeal for an extension of the liquor licensing hours in Clarke Quay."

The changes to the liquor licensing hours were made in July, following complaints of drunken behaviour in the area.

A Clarke Quay spokesman said the management "supports initiatives that make our property a safe and secure place to wine, dine and have a good time", adding that it is working with tenants and the authorities on the appeal for an extension of the liquor licensing hours.

Attica marketing manager Amanda Ng, 33, said that what the tenants are suggesting will "definitely minimise" the problem of drunken behaviour in the vicinity as "it makes it less convenient for the culprits to get their cheap fix".

She added: "Banning the sale of alcohol in convenience stores within a 1km radius and having a dry zone area must come hand-in-hand for it to work."

Business development executive Huang Shi Hui, 35, who has partied at Dream and Shanghai Dolly, also hopes the authorities will allow the liquor sales hours to extend to 4am.

She said: "3am is too early because people who club normally start at midnight and a shorter party time means they will get drunk faster. The authorities should also ban drinking on the bridge as it's quite unsightly."

melk@sph.com.sg

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 12, 2013To subscribe to The Straits Times, please go to http://www.sphsubscription.com.sg/eshop/