Police shut down popular nightspot

A popular East London champagne bar had its doors shut by police on Friday night when a raid on the premises found its liquor licence had expired over a year ago.

Oh! Brigado – an upmarket venue – is located at Beacon Bay Crossing and is popular with the city’s high-rollers.

BURST BUBBLE: OhBrigado situated at the Beacon Bay Crossing in East London Picture: MARK ANDREWS

The Eastern Cape Liquor Board told the Daily Dispatch yesterday that the operating licence of the bar had expired in February last year.

During the raid carried out by the Beacon Bay police and Eastern Cape Public Order Police (POP), alcohol worth more than R200000 was confiscated. The drama happened in front of scores of shocked patrons, some of whom had descended on East London for Africa Bike Week. The customers were forced to pack up and leave the venue much to their dismay.

ECLB spokesman Mgwebi Msiya said the venue failed to renew their Category 1 (alcohol may be consumed on the premises only) licence, which allows customers to drink on the premises and not leave with the alcohol.

“They failed to renew the licence when it expired in February meaning that they had been operating illegally all this time.”

It costs R8000 a year to renew an expired licence.

East London police spokeswoman Warrant officer Hazel Mqala said the raid followed several complaints from tenants of the shopping complex about disorderly conduct of patrons of the nightclub.

“During the intelligence driven operation our members also discovered that the venue had no operating licence. The owner was not there but we engaged with the manager and ordered him to shut down.”

Oh! Brigado is owned by well-known event organiser and businessman Olwethu Hoyana. Hoyana’s phone rang unanswered yesterday and text messages sent to the number had not yielded answers at the time of writing.

Patrons who flocked to the venue for comedian Skhumba Hlophe’s afterparty event were greeted by closed doors as were those revellers, who had hoped to attend an Africa Bike Week after-party booked at the venue on Saturday.

The Liquor Board issues five types of operating licences. Category 1 is an on-consumption licence, which allows patrons to stay and drink. Patrons may not leave with liquor.

Category 2 is an off-consumption licence which is usually granted to liquor outlets such as Tops and Prestons and does not allow for on-site consumption.

A Category 3 licence is an on/off consumption where patrons can either drink on the premises or leave with their alcohol.

A total of 60% of licensed businesses operate with this type of licence, according to Msiya. It is mostly used in the townships by taverns.

The fourth category is a micro-manufacturing licence granted to small-scale breweries.

A fifth and final category is for special events and is a licence valid for three to 10 consecutive dates.

“It is mostly used during events such as sport matches where a vendor can sell alcohol from a stall or when a business wants to sell from a tent.”

Applications for special events need to be lodged 40 days (excluding weekends and public holidays) before the event.

According to the Liquor Act, by law a licence has to be signed by a ward councillor of the area in which the establishment is to operate, after engagement with the ward committee and community at large. – Malibongwe Dayimani from Daily Dispatch reporting


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