The famous Hotel Steyne on Manly Beach has narrowly avoided a Strike, after defence and Arthur Laundy told the Court of its marked turnaround.
Throughout the 80s and 90s Manly was known as one of Sydney’s hotspots for violence and drunken antics, with the tourist mecca ‘Corso’ strip and beachfront alive with revellers until the early hours every weekend.
The indomitable centre of this action was the large-format, late-trading Hotel Steyne, on the corner of the Corso, overlooking the beach. While hotels such as the Ivanhoe, New Brighton, Manly Pacific and Manly Hotel itself went in and out of fashion, The Steyne, as it was known, was the stalwart that saw thousands of patrons on a Friday and Saturday night.
This landmark corner building, with four bars and a takeaway liquor store, was purchased post-GFC by a partnership including Arthur Laundy and John Singleton. Still trading well, it was well known for drunken violence both inside and outside.
The new owners installed the highly regarded Gerard Dore* and a new approach that targeted its poor reputation and the family-based clientele that had ceased coming to the venue.
Far from the beer and wine-swilling young patronage that traditionally inhabited The Steyne, it soon saw Australia’s first boutique cider bar in a pub, Moonshine, which made use of a disused third-storey area looking down on the world-famous Manly beach.
Last September the Hotel was hit with breaches relating to four underage girls. New licensee Stephen O’Sullivan last week plead guilty to four counts of allowing the underage patrons to remain on the premises for more than three hours, and three counts of allowing them to buy alcohol.
Two female barstaff who served the girls were dismissed and fined $1100, and the other 21 staff on duty that night were cautioned.
The Laundy Group confirmed to PubTIC that Arthur Laundy himself appeared in court in defence of the Hotel’s recent reputation and O’Sullivan. The respected Group operator spoke of measures such as their change to security policies and discontinuing live music, which he conceded had halved profit in the venue.
Magistrate Christopher Longley consequently chose not to proceed to conviction, which would have made the Hotel eligible for a Strike under the Office of Liquor Gaming & Racing’s (OLGR) 3-Strikes policy.
O’Sullivan was issued a 12-month good-behaviour bond and warned licensing police would likely be keeping close track of the venue.
*Dore recently took control of his own venue, Stanmore’s Salisbury Hotel.
Hotel Steyne from Manly Beach (Image: Sprout Daily)