Tue, 19 Mar 2019

The apparent launch of a pop-up "drive-through bar" on William Nicol Drive in Johannesburg has been greeted with much scepticism on social media.

On its Twitter account, One On Nicol Drive-Thru Bar announced that it would be opening its doors to the public on Wednesday.

"Tokyo has a beer vending machine, the Aussies have drive-thru bottle stores, and now Jozi has its own drive-thru bar!" it boasts on Facebook.

In a video on its social media platforms, Jason le Grange, said to be the pop-up bar's owner, explains that he came upon the idea in Tokyo, Japan, where he saw a vending machine dispensing alcoholic drinks.

"So I thought, why couldn't this idea work back home? And, uh, here we are," Le Grange says, pointing to the completed bar.

In terms of the theme, Le Grange explains that it was decided to go with an "island vibe".

"You know, as people come over this little crest they're going to see this awesome setup here with our palm trees and our decking and the chairs and tables...

"Pull in, grab a drink and off you go," Le Grange says.

Le Grange said if people wanted to sit down, they would be served two, three, "maybe four max...and off you go."

The address of the pop-up bar listed on the Facebook page is the same as a power substation, with a huge billboard across the way.

The idea elicited mixed reaction on social media.

'Are you kidding me?'

On its Facebook page, many people commented that it was a bad idea.

Patrick Swan wrote: "Looks to me like its inviting drinking and driving. Hier kom kak." To this, One on Nicol replied: "What is the difference between drinking at a bar and drinking at a pop-up?"

Gray Cescutti commented: "Yay more people drinking and driving...Just what we need..."

Magen Moonsamy wrote: "Are u kidding me??? You must be kidding me....nah you definitely kidding me....wtf."

Others speculated that it was either a joke or a guise for the launch of some marketing campaign.

Shannon Gahagan commented: "This has got to be an anti-drinking and driving campaign and I can't wait to see how this pans out *Grabs popcorn and waits for the internet trolls*"

Roadblocks coming

JMPD spokesperson Wayne Minnaar said he was not aware of the launch.

"If people have more than one drink it's going to be a problem," Minnaar told News24.

"They would definitely need a liquor licence to do something like that. If this is going to happen, then we're going to have a roadblock right outside there," Minnaar warned.

Having been caught unawares, Minnaar said he would comment at a later stage.

He added via WhatsApp: "All liquor outlets [are] the responsibility of the South African police. JMPD will support [the SA Police Service] and fulfil its responsibility to prevent crime, enforce City by-laws and enforce road traffic regulations."

Johannesburg mayoral committee member for Public Safety, Michael Sun, said that he had seen the announcement and reaction on social media.

Not sure if it's a 'marketing ploy or gimmick'

"I haven't seen the establishment, so I am not sure if it is a marketing ploy or gimmick. I want to take a drive there myself to see what their business model is and how they attempt to sell alcohol on a drive-thru," he said.

"If it is true that that is how they will be operating, obviously we do not encourage drinking and driving. This is something we will be watching... and I will be engaging with the business owners."

While he did not want to jump to conclusions at this stage, he said the bottom line was that they were against any form of driving under the influence.

Arrive Alive has also expressed its disappointment in a tweet, saying no one should drink and drive.

In order to obtain a liquor licence, a person would need a SA Police Service clearance certificate confirming that they do not have a criminal record.

An applicant needs a premises before they can apply for a liquor licence. The public area must not be less than 50 square metres. The ideal is that the premises is 500 metres or more from a church, school or similar business. A tax-clearance certificate from the SA Revenue Service is also needed.

One on Nicol provided News24 with a number to call when it was contacted via its social media pages. The contact number, however, initially went to voicemail. A woman later answered, but claimed to know nothing about the establishment.

News24 hasn't been able to establish whether the drive-through bar is real or whether the announcement is part of a marketing campaign.

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