Queenstown bar institution mulls return

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A central Queenstown building devastated by fire will be rebuilt but the fate of its main tenant – a local nightclub institution – remains undecided.

The long-running World Bar, popular with backpackers and locals, plus a newly-reopened ground-floor Fat Badger’s pizza restaurant were destroyed by a spectacular fire in the latter’s kitchen in May.

The Shotover Street building’s owner confirms demolition of the burnt-out premises – including an unoccupied shop – will start in a few weeks and work on a new building will commence early next year.

Dave Boyd, director of building owner Boydcorp Finance, says The World Bar and Fat Badger’s are interested in returning: “However that’ll depend on the design we end up having and what constraints we have in the way of meeting new codes and standards, particularly egress and accessibility. We can’t guarantee anything to anyone as to whether the new premises will be suitable.”

The World Bar crew, upstairs for 17 years, has opened a temporary venue, The Find, in the ex-Revolver bar premises down the road.

Fat Badger’s remains homeless.

Boyd says he had a replacement cover insurance claim accepted within a week of the fire.

The delay since was caused by deciding how much of the building had to be demolished: “You’d think it’d be quite simple but it’s actually complex.”

Boyd says the building, apart from a section housing the Quest shop, will be razed to ground level aside from a boundary wall against The Station building.

Insurance assessors have given the demolition contract to Amalgamated Builders.

Boyd expects demolition will start late this month, once consent’s been granted: “It’ll take a month because there’s a bit of delicate work that’s got to be done.”

The assessors have also appointed local award-winning architect Michael Wyatt to design the new building.

“The floor plan layout’s really what we’ve been concentrating on to get started,” Boyd says.

“We wouldn’t be starting construction till some time during the first quarter in the new year – maybe February if we’re really lucky.”

Boyd confirms sprinklers, which weren’t part of the old building and weren’t required by law, are “more than likely” to be incorporated in the new one.

The World Bar marketing manager Chris Barnhart says Boyd’s been helpful during the whole process.

“It’s really good to have a landlord that respects the heritage of The World Bar.

“I know it’s not official [that The World’s 

Fat Badger’s co-owner Anthony Waldock says he’s still looking for temporary premises but is waiting to hear about the new building.