Beer gardenOne of Sydney’s most beloved pubs has found itself on the list of violent venues, after recent successes have brought about consequences.

Neutral Bay’s The Oaks underwent a critically acclaimed renovation in 2013 that introduced a number of new fronts to the celebrated hotel.

The updated offering has enjoyed recognition including the AHA NSW’ Hotel of the Year award, and not surprisingly a significant increase in trade.

“Unfortunately, with the larger crowds came a higher number of incidents,” licensee Joe Fenton told PubTIC.

“We have zero tolerance for anti-social behaviour and I sincerely hope that all staff and customers feel safe whilst visiting our venue.”

Built around 1885, The Oaks has a long been seen as a somewhat sophisticated venue, but a count last year of 15 incidents has qualified it for Level 2 restrictions on the OLGR’s violent venues scheme, which applies to venues experiencing 12-18 reportable incidents.

Released on Friday, the latest list stipulates conditions on venues to take effect today, but the hotel has been given an additional week to comply as this is the first time it has appeared on the list.

The current list has the fewest offenders since the scheme began, in 2008.

The Level 2 conditions include:

  • Cease alcohol service 30 minutes before closing
  • No glass or breakable containers after midnight
  • Alcohol time-outs or the provision of free water and food for 10 minutes every hour after midnight

Fenton says they have made the decision to adopt the measures as quickly as possible, and have already introduced plastic glassware – to the considerable surprise of regular patrons. The street-facing ‘1936 Bar’ has also already been tweaked, to be more of a cocktail lounge experience than a nightclub.

“We were disturbed by the number of incidents occurring in and near the hotel, and we are working closely with the police and community to ensure the issue is addressed,” relayed Fenton. “There has been a significant decrease in the number of incidents at the hotel over recent months.

“The response from our customers is one of disbelief; they have never perceived The Oaks as an unsafe venue.

“We are committed to providing a safe venue, and we are confident that the measures we have put in place will prove effective.”

The Oaks award-winning restaurant
The Oaks award-winning restaurant
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