Pubs to shut doors at midnight
By MARY MANN
SOME Northern Rivers clubs and pubs are to close their doors an hour earlier.
It's a move designed to crack down on the drunken chaos which characterises the streets most Friday and Saturday nights.
From June 6, a midnight curfew will apply to all licensed venues in the Ballina Liquor Accord area: in Ballina, Lennox Head, Alstonville, Wollongbar and Evans Head.
It means pub-crawlers will have to be inside a venue before midnight, or they won't be allowed in.
Anthony Keon, licensee at the Ballina Hotel and committee member on the Ballina Liquor Accord, said the rule was designed to minimise anti-social behaviour by restricting patron migration between venues late at night.
"Our aim is to stop patrons who have been kicked out of one venue trying to get into another," he said.
Brendan Byrne, licensee at The Australian Hotel in Ballina, said the earlier the curfew, the better.
"People tend to drink at one licensed premises and then move to another at about 1am," he said.
"Anyone can act sober for three minutes while they get into the pub, but then we wear the grief.
Brad Scofield, licensee manager at Ballina's Henry Rous Tavern agreed, and said the curfew would make nights a lot easier on the venues as they could have better control of drunks.
Licensing officer for the Richmond Local Area Command, Senior Constable Benecke, said police supported the midnight curfew.