Ready to serve: Whakatipu Brewing general manager Joy Kavanaugh, left, and duty manager Alice Lockhart


Queenstown’s newest restaurant and bar, Whakatipu Brewing, is doing steady business since opening last Saturday, co-owner Daniel Taiaroa says.

The premises on the corner of Beach Street and Cow Lane under went a rapid fit-out after getting the nod from Queenstown council’s building and liquor licence authorities, opening the day after work was complete.

Taiaroa, a Christchurch-based hospo operator in partnership with his brother, Richard, says the fit-out was mostly cosmetic because the premises, on the ground floor of Stratton House, was previously occupied by another restaurant, Thai Siam.

While ‘‘absolutely stoked’’ to get it up and running, he says it’s only the first stage of the venture, with further enhancements of the outdoor space to be carried out in time for summer.

The deck on both frontages will be extended, and enhanced with planting and other features, while the council’s street upgrade work will also be finished by then.

Asked about the spelling of ‘Whakatipu’ in the bar’s name, Taiaroa says he and his brother — who are Ngai Tahu — decided to embrace the increasingly common use of an ‘h’ by resort residents, community groups and businesses.

‘‘We reached out to members of our family and our iwi, and it seemed that’s the way things are going.’’

So far, the restrictions on travel from New South Wales aren’t having any discernible impact, with domestic visitors and Aussies from other states more than making up for it – the brothers’ other bar in the resort, Bungalow, has just had a couple of its busiest weeks in a row, he says.