Nomads’ new watering hole


A backpackers where drunken guests last year caused a $60,000 flood wants to open a bar in its lobby.

Nomads Queenstown, on downtown Church Street, has applied for council permission to remodel its street-side reception area.

The bar could be open 8am to 1am seven days a week.

The 386-bed backpackers is regularly voted the best in New Zealand and won ‘Best Large Hostel in the World’ at the 2013 ‘Hoscars’.

But it fell foul of its neighbours on Valentine’s Day last year when two smashed British backpackers swung from a sprinkler system pipe.

It broke, sending hundreds of litres of water flooding through the hostel and five other businesses in the same building.

“I did hear about the great flood,” Sam Johnson, manager for a few months, says.

“We weren’t serving alcohol on the premises though - my understanding was they went out, got blind, then came back.

“This’ll just be a small bar, more of a lounge than somewhere punk-rock and crazy.”

Capacity will be 60 patrons and five staff. The bar, open to the public, could be operating by late June.

“It’ll be another way for the backpackers to mingle, which is great for people travelling on their own,” she says.

“We hope it’ll bring up the atmosphere of the hostel.”

Johnson says it’s in the hostel’s own interests to keep the noise down. Noise mitigation measures will include a ‘sound lobby’ - two sets of heavy double doors at either end of a corridor entrance.

Many of the surrounding premises are bars, eateries, shops or businesses, but St Peter’s Church is a stone’s throw away.

Reverend Christopher Tweddell says: “If it’s seven days a week from 8am it could present an issue for us.

“But this is the first I’ve heard of it and I’ll raise it with our community.”

Tweddell says his flock plans to be heavily involved in the formation of Queenstown’s local alcohol policy, with “concerns” over the resort’s future direction.

“I believe the process needs to be as deep and as wide as it possibly can.”

Police say they’re yet to receive a liquor licence application. They opposed an application from Nomads last year due to insufficient information.