Bar makes move on historic neighbour

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Side by side: The World Bar (left) and McNeill's Cottage

The owners of Queenstown hospo institution The World Bar are taking over the historic cottage next door.

Gary Livesey and Steve Ward say their plans for McNeill’s Cottage embrace art, food, music, drinks, performance and drama.

But they’re keeping the concept for the Church Street venue under wraps for now.

The move spells the end for the cottage’s current occupier Italian restaurant Sasso.

Owned by The Rees Hotel manager Mark Rose, its last day is April 21.

Expanding empire: Gary Livesey

The World Bar collaborators will then renovate the 1882 cottage.

Livesey says: “It’ll be an independent business that complements The World Bar and other businesses on Church St.

“There’s no point creating a competitor to ourselves.

“We see, between the businesses on Church St, there’s the potential to create a great hub of activity.”

The cottage was built by Scottish stonemason James McNeill – who also built Queenstown’s Ballarat St bridge and former council offices, which have been converted to a Speight’s Ale House.

McNeill’s has been a hospo destination since the 1990s, when it housed Queenstown’s first microbrewery.

Live music bar Dux de Lux occupied the cottage for about a decade before Sasso opened in December 2012.

Rose says The Rees and travelling 140 days a year is stretching him too thin to oversee Sasso as well.

“The hotel is so busy that I haven’t got the time or energy to do both.

“[It’s] nice to be able to pass it on to The World Bar guys as they are great operators.”

The World Bar, famous for its teapot tipples, moved to Church St after its old premises on Shotover St burned down in 2013, after a fire spread from the kitchen of Fat Badgers pizzeria.

paul.taylor@scene.co.nz