Newcastle restaurant fined for operating as a bar

27 August, 2018 by
Hospitality Magazine

A Newcastle restaurant has been convicted for operating as an unauthorised bar, after inspectors found it had only one item on its menu after 9pm.

Inspectors visited 5 Sawyers restaurant after 9:30pm last September as part of a Liquor & Gaming NSW compliance operation.

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The duty manager said there was a “limited menu” available after 9pm, however the sole menu item was a German-style pretzel with a cheese dipping sauce and cracked pepper.

The inspectors also found no table service was being offered and patrons were buying drinks from the bar.

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Benjamin Dewson, licensee of the restaurant on Darby St, pleaded guilty to the offence in Newcastle Local Court on 20 August.

Magistrate David Price fined Dewson $1200 and ordered him to pay legal costs of $3500.

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“This is not a matter to be trivialised,” says Magistrate Price. “There needs to be a general deterrence in the hospitality industry. There should be a clear and consistent message that there must be full compliance with liquor licence requirements.”

This is the second prosecution of a Newcastle venue for the same offence. In February, the former operators of Soho on Darby were fined for operating their restaurant like a nightclub.

Liquor & Gaming NSW director of compliance operations Sean Goodchild says the regulator is monitoring higher risk venues and will intervene where an operator misuses its licence.

“We have investigated a number of recent cases where a venue with a restaurant licence operates as a nightclub or bar,” he says.

“These business models misrepresent their activities and disregard strict obligations under NSW liquor laws, increasing risks of alcohol-related harm.”