Pub declares war on violence
Friday, 12th December, 2008
One of the city’s most popular pubs has declared war on violence and has a simply message for would-be trouble-makers this party season: stay away.
Jolted by a recent glassing incident, the Southern Cross Hotel has introduced tough new measures ahead of its busiest trading period of the year in an effort to stamp out drunken and violent behaviour.
The harshest of them will now see the pub closed immediately if a fight breaks out among any patrons, and the instigator barred for life.
Licensee John Groenendijk yesterday said while the measures were “extreme” he had the safety of his customers to consider.
“You throw a punch in my pub, you’re out for life. I don’t want you here.”
Security staff will also now be present every Friday and Saturday night at the hotel which has also introduced a “zero tolerance policy” towards patrons who refuse to leave when asked.
From now on the police will be called in to deal with people who fail to quit, which attracts a $550 fine.
“We also have extra staff behind the bar and on the floor to keep the place cleaner and watch for patrons who may be quarrelsome or intoxicated.”
Mr Groenendijk said. A recent glassing incident at the pub was the main motivation for the changes which have also seen glasses replaced with plastic schooners after 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
Mr Groenendijk said he wanted to address the violence now before another serious incident happened.
While three times the price of the glass equivalent, the polycarbonate schooners were much safer, he said.
“One glassing is one too many.
“Nine nights out of 10 we don’t have a problem but want to make sure we make it 10 out of 10.”
Recently, during another bad night, a fed-up Mr Groenendijk said he ordered all patrons out of the hotel after “one guy wanted to take on another guy”.
“I said ‘that’s it, everybody out’.
“I hope it doesn’t happen again. I will not tolerate violence.”
Mr Groenendijk said the city’s Licensing Sergeant backed the measures which were now “a standard policy from this point forward”.
“What we’re doing now is going to be the norm in three or four years, or sooner."
Mr Groenendijk said the hotel was also offering free soft-drinks or water to designated drivers, and a free ride home at the end of the night to people who couldn’t get a taxi.