Tardis winks out


Queenstown’s late night venue Tardis is being transformed into an eatery.

A double-header goodbye was held for the Cow Lane dance music mainstay last weekend.

Builders have started ripping out the interior, taking away 17 years of memories, including artwork and graffiti.

Co-owner Matt Yates says: “My phone’s not stopped ringing with people wanting memorabilia.”

Consents have been lodged for the new venture but Yates is reluctant to give a flavour.

Rumour is it will be a Japanese influenced eatery – which would give an interesting mix of foreign food and Kiwi hospitality.

Yates says: “It’s a small space - so we’re doing a whole interior and exterior refit.

“We want to have a funky little business that provides fun dining with really good food.”

Yates says while they hoped to open the new eatery by the start of WinterFest everything will have to fall into place “miraculously well” for that to happen.

An early July start is more realistic.

Yates and co-owner Scott Stevens live in Arrowtown and haven’t worked at Tardis for years.

Yates is a travel specialist at Active Adventures. Stevens owns several businesses, including Lakes Weekly Bulletin.

A change to food will let the pair sample the business’ atmosphere and help the manager - without having to be in Queenstown at 3am.

“We were very sad to see Tardis go,” Yates says, while quickly adding they’ve got nothing but good memories.

“It was a tough decision because it was still a profitable little business - I just felt we wanted to enjoy the business ourselves and trade for more of the hours we pay rent for, rather than just four hours at the end of each night.”

Yates pays tribute to its loyal staff over the years - including “Pistol” Pete Gaudin.

Stevens - who’s just been elected Queenstown council’s Arrowtown rep - says to dispense with a successful brand was a big decision. To put it bluntly, he says they were too old.

Stevens: “As a business owner you want to be able to influence your business - and me turning up to Tardis at midnight isn’t going to impress the crowds that are there.”

Tardis was Stevens’ first Queenstown business.

“Without it in those early years potentially I might not have stayed in the district - so it certainly had a huge influence on me and a lot of other people.”

Tardis still has a strong following and recognition in the music scene, so it’s not dead.

Stevens: “We’re not going to discount putting that Tardis brand to another concept - potentially it could be a one-off or regular gigs, either in an other premise or we’ve even talked about it being the basis for a winter-based DJ extravaganza.”