Home Pub bar Wanaka pub closes as pandemic hits hard

Wanaka pub closes as pandemic hits hard

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Saturday was the day the craic died at the waterhole in Wanaka Fitzpatricks Irish Pub.

Publican Julian Field said the closure had been forced by a 50-60% drop in sales since the emergence of Covid-19 last year and backpackers have stopped coming to Wanaka.

The bar and concert hall at the corner of Helwick and Brownston streets were popular with guests staying at the neighboring backpacker base and the Matterhorn.

These two Brownston Street establishments are no longer functioning and the properties are for sale.

Fitzpatricks Bar was also popular with musicians, artists and last-minute workers.

The shutdown came “with an extremely heavy heart,” a social media post said this week.

“This decision was not taken lightly, but the past 18 months have been more than a little difficult for obvious reasons and an opportunity has presented itself to gracefully close the bar on our own terms.”

Mr. Field confirmed that the lease had been sold to another company.

He couldn’t say what was going to reopen in Fitzpatricks place, but he could tell it wouldn’t be a hospitality business.

“The past 10 years at Fitzpatricks have been amazing and we want to thank every customer who has walked through our doors,” he said.

Mr. Field also operates the Rove and Woodies bars in Post Office Lane in Ardmore St.

These were still doing well after some adjustments to deal with the challenges of the pandemic and despite a very difficult year, he said.

“But Fitzpatricks, since Covid, has struggled. It was a model that relied more on tourism than others. Part of the market was the surrounding backpackers… We had locals, but travelers made up a big part of it. our market. “

Mr. Field also owns Subway takeout stores in Dunedin and Gore.

He said those companies are recovering well now that the South Island has returned to Alert Level 2.

While take-out business models had rebounded well, hospitality still struggled under Tier 2 restrictions, such as table-only service and number limits, he said.

“[The restrictions] go against the reason people want to go out. They can’t play pool, can’t play music, can’t dance, ”he said.

Yesterday, Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce General Manager Naomi Lindsay said that there had been several changes in the hospitality industry recently, her message was that all was not gloomy and the circumstances of each were different.

“However, I don’t want to minimize anything. It is difficult, not just for the hotel industry, but for tourism and retail. However, there are companies that are doing well,” she said. .

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