Byron Bay's new topless bar set to open

DESPITE initial reports that it had already opened, Byron Bay's new topless bar is expected to open tomorrow night.

The Bay at Byron, in Fletcher St and formerly known as La Playa Tapas Bar, has come under scrutiny for plans to introduce topless dancers and waitresses.

There were incorrect reports that it had started trading last week.

However, Acting Inspector Mark Gorton from the Tweed/Byron Local Area Command said the bar is expected to have its opening night tomorrow night.

Byron Shire Mayor Simon Richardson and members of the Byron Bay business and general community have expressed concerns that a topless bar in the Bay would be damaging to the town's tourism reputation.

Inspector Gorton has confirmed that the new business owner, Kathryn Marcia Sleigh of Currumbin Waters, Queensland, intends for the bar to have topless staff, however Insp Gorton said this was not an issue the police had jurisdiction over within liquor licensing legislation.

Topless bar, The Bay at Byron, Byron Bay.
Topless bar, The Bay at Byron, Byron Bay. Contributed

"To have topless entertainment does not require any special application," Insp Gorton said.

"If it goes beyond topless entertainment into sexual activity there are different regulations."

An application has been made to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing for the transfer of the liquor licence held by La Playa's licensee, Sarah Louise Cooper to the new business owner, Kathryn Marcia Sleigh and for a copy to be provided to local police.

The transfer application was not asking for any changes to the current on-premises liquor licence held by La Playa, other than a change of trading name, Insp Gorton said.

Police are preparing their submission to the OGLR in response to the licence transfer application, he said.

"The new trader has a window of opportunity to trade under the old licence for 28 days from the start of trade while the licence name transfer is completed," Insp Gorton said.

The Northern Star has requested comment from Ms Sleigh over the new topless bar, however at the time of going to press, Ms Sleigh had not responded for comment.



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