Bar’s under-21 drinks ban due to ‘disrespect’

A ST Helier bar says it has been forced to change its policy and ban Islanders under the age of 21 due to some being ‘disrespectful’.

John O'Connell (29482568)
John O'Connell (29482568)

Krafty J’s in Bath Street said that the majority of younger people were well behaved but that a few were spoiling it for the rest.

Co-owner John O’Connell said that over the past few weeks staff had dealt with numerous incidents involving young Islanders, including attempts to buy alcohol with a fake ID. He added that some had shown a ‘blatant disrespect for other customers’ and the Covid-19 rules, while others had to be asked ‘several times’ to remain seated, as per current restrictions.

Mr O’Connell said this, combined with numerous individual incidents in which staff received abuse, had left him with ‘no other choice’ but to introduce an over-21s policy at weekends.

‘It only really became an issue over the last few weeks,’ he said. ‘We turned dozens of people away last Saturday. It’s a tough decision to have to make but unfortunately it was getting quite bad with youths turning up drunk and becoming disrespectful.

‘It is a shame that a small bunch are ruining it for the others – I feel sorry for the Island’s youth as they are very limited in what they can do at the moment. These are tough times and it was a difficult decision for us.’

Meanwhile, representatives of Jersey’s entertainment industry says it continues to struggle under Covid-19 restrictions – with establishments still unable to operate under a full nightclub licence.

JP Anquetil, who owns Rojo nightclub, said that adapting the business to operate as a restaurant had not been an easy process.

‘We still can’t use a nightclub licence,’ he said. ‘We’re doing our best to trade as a restaurant, but obviously that’s not ideal for us. There’s no dialogue going on at the moment around support and reopening.

‘We’re trying to operate in a way we’ve never done before,’ he added.

And Martin Sayers, owner of Vittoria in Liberty Wharf, said that there has been a lack of dialogue with government officials and explained that transitioning from nightclub to bar had added additional strain on day-to-day operations.

‘This sector of business has been completely abandoned,’ said Mr Sayers. ‘But you can’t just be an ostrich with your head in the sand – you have to do something about it. We are reinventing ourselves again. Last month we were successful in obtaining a restaurant licence downstairs, and we have decided to go in a different direction.

‘We are going to turn Vittoria into an international fusion-style restaurant, while retaining the nightclub licence and dancefloor area.

‘This is in the hope that in six months or a year or whenever people are allowed to dance and it is safe to have fun, that we can have a very sophisticated international dining experience together with entertainment – but only for diners and past-diners.’

Last week Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham confirmed that additional support packages would soon be announced to aid sectors heavily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic – such as the events industry – but details have not yet been released.

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