We’re open for Christmas


Most shut up shop but a handful of Queenstown restaurateurs still think it’s viable to open on Christmas.

Grant Hattaway has been serving up grub on December 25 at his Pier 19 restaurant since he first came to town in 2000 – though he closes Captains down The Mall for the day.

“A lot of businesses complain you can’t make any money, but we’ve never not made a profit on Christmas day. There are a lot of visitors who come here on their holidays and we have people wondering around town with nothing do.”

While Hattaway won’t be working Christmas Day he makes sure his staff that do are looked after – giving them dinner and drinks at the end of the session.

Tatler and Prime restaurants will also both open this year and owner Mark Jessop says he’ll be working the night shift along with his wife.

“It’s just one of those things, you take the rough with the smooth,” he says.

“There’s always a peak day when we’re short staffed and it’s one of the few days I actually spend in the restaurant all year so I’m looking forward to it.

“We’ll have Christmas lunch with the kids and then head to work.”

Publican Barry Ellis – who owns Monty’s, Pig & Whistle and Guilty – is among the majority of Queenstown bars and restaurants that choose to close for the day.

“It’s just not economically viable to open,” he says. “Our big thing is the New Year celebrations.”

Winnies owner Mike Burgess stays open until midnight Christmas Eve and then opens again Boxing Day.

“We just decide to let everyone have some time out,” he says. “Then it’s full on including New Years.”