Wellington authorities are putting a cork in bottomless brunches, saying too many people are “getting trolleyed” before lunch.
A small number of the city’s bars and restaurants offer “all you can eat and drink”, fixed-price deals, a relatively new phenomenon that’s popular in places like London and New York.
Wellington City Council and police are warning the practice could affect a bar’s liquor license rules, which are supposed to prevent people drinking too much.
Wellington City Council spokesperson Richard MacLean said there were reports of people stumbling through the city drunk after attending these brunches.
“They’re a deal where you apparently go along to a bar and pay $50 or $60 or $70 and you get to drink as much as you like over a set period … and presumably somewhere in there you get scrambled eggs or avocado on toast as well,” MacLean said.
“We’ve had these complaints and situations over the past few months of people getting – what’s the technical term? Trolleyed. Getting trolleyed before lunch – which is probably not a good thing.
“These things were getting a little bit out of hand by all accounts. Pubs shouldn’t be encouraging irresponsible drinking.”
The council had come to an arrangement with bar owners that saw patrons get three or four drink tokens over a set time, “rather than people drinking so much they’re walking sideways down the street at two o’clock in the afternoon”, MacLean said.
Hospitality New Zealand president Jeremy Smith said bottomless brunches could be run responsibly and should not be shut down.
Smith – who is also the director of city bars El Horno, Lulu’s and The Arborist – said it was wrong to target a single event.
Whatever the time of day, if a customer appeared intoxicated, they would be refused service, he said.
His bars have stopped such promotions for the time being.