Orange after dark

Late-night trading in Orange

ORANGE City Council’s approval last week for The Occidental Hotel to extend trading hours upstairs sparked an ugly debate between the licensee, council and the police.

Canobolas Local Area Command even went to the extent of showing councillors dramatic video footage of an assault taking place outside the pub on January 13.

The issue sparked commentary in the community about late-night trading, binge drinking and violence in Orange.

In light of the negative attitude towards late-night venues, The Occidental Hotel general manager Don Scholte invited Central Western Daily journalist Nicole Kuter to spend a Saturday night at the hotel to report on the good, bad and the ugly of what it is really like in the industry.

On this page we feature the articles in the series

Police won't have a bar of hotel's bid for late-night trading

POLICE have slammed The Occidental Hotel’s bid to permanently open the upstairs bar until 3am when a 12-month trial ends on February 4. They say a lack of proactive security and the behaviour of drunk patrons is a recipe for disaster and will increase alcohol-related assaults in the central business district.

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Fight film can't sway council

ORANGE City Council has approved extended trading hours for an upstairs area of The Occidental Hotel despite police showing damning footage of drunken patrons fighting with a staff member. In an unprecedented move Canobolas Local Area Command showed councillors footage from January 13 from a CCTV camera directly outside the pub.

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PART 1: A night at the Occidental: warts and all

WE hear all too often the problems associated with alcohol-related violence but it is not until you witness it first hand do you realise how quickly a trouble-free evening can end up with someone in hospital and someone facing criminal charges.

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PART 2: Drunks’ ploys a headache for pub staff

DRUNK people tried everything to get into the Occidental Hotel on Saturday night but everyone of them only had “ two drinks, maybe three”. RSA marshals on the door see it every weekend and some of the techniques employed by drunks amazed me but did not shock them at all.

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PART 3: Big shout for a booze-up

PEOPLE struggle to pay their electricity bills, charities are stretched and people are going without to pay the rent but for young men in Orange, spending $400 on alcohol is just an average weekend. Men at the Occidental Hotel in Orange said they spend anywhere between $300 and $400 on an average night out.

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PART 4: Day in the life of licensee

LATE nights, early mornings, dealing with staff, licensing and planning matters, all while making sure the bar is stocked and tills are full are the easy parts of life as a licensee. It is the unruly patrons that make life difficult for the general manager of the Occidental Hotel.

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PART 5: Walking the gauntlet

ORANGE women would rather walk home at 3am after a night out than line up for a taxi, according to patrons at the Occidental Hotel on Saturday night. The Central Western Daily spoke to 10 women of varying ages at the pub and the consensus was they would prefer to walk than wait in line for a cab.

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PART 6: It all ends in tears

THIS is how a night out with friends can turn horribly wrong in an instant. One minute you are having a great time, laughing, dancing, then you decide to leave the venue and head home. The next minute the police are pouring water into your burning eyes to distil the after effects of pepper spray.

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PART 7: Our drinking culture has to change

THE attitude of young people to drinking is not new, but authorities say society has had enough. Lyndon Community deputy CEO Dr Julaine Allan and Canobolas Local Area Command Superintendent David Driver said young people’s attitudes had not changed over the years, but society would no longer tolerate the behaviour it once did.

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A CONTINUING SERIES:Council calls last drinks | Compromise on early closure | Under the influence of late night trading | A night on the town will be a revelation for church group | Council's shout for a forum on alcohol issues | Church group to spend night on the town | Poll results favour early close | Forbes policy: Behave or be banned | Booze fuels assault rate | ID scanners essential in attempt to halt violence | Alcohol fuels fight nights | Party’s over by midnight at the Oxo

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