A Hamilton bar owner faces losing thousands in revenue for exceeding his opening hours to play host to a victorious rugby team.
Shenanigans bar in Victoria St, will be closed for 24 hours from 7am this Saturday after owner John Lawrenson admitted staying open for two hours after his 3am on-licence ended on the Sunday morning following the Chiefs' August 4 Super Rugby final win.
Mr Lawrenson, who runs 12 Hamilton bars under the Lawrenson Group umbrella, said he personally made the call to allow the Chiefs team and some supporters to stay in Shenanigans after the 3am closing time.
"We didn't ask them to leave and they didn't realise they were doing anything wrong."
But he said no alcohol was served between 3am and 5am, at which time the players left in taxis without complaint.
"We knew the risks, we were caught, at the end of the day what were we going to do?
"We were happy to have them there.
"We had shut the garden bar off for them and thought: let's just leave them to it."
Mr Lawrenson said the issue was brought to the attention of the Hamilton City Council and subsequently the police by another hospitality worker.
The 24-hour closure on an evening that is "by far the busiest night of the week", would cost the Lawrenson Group "a four-digit figure".
But with Chiefs as "regulars", Mr Lawrenson was prepared to live with the loss. "Well, maybe not so much this year, that's why they won."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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