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Bright: Future Bars managing director James Ace, left, and general manager Bert Haines next to the newly-painted walls of Margos

By MATTHEW MCKEW

Despite a last-minute name change, a new Queenstown hospo joint’s set to open on schedule next week.

Future Bars bought iconic steak and seafood restaurant, Britannia, two years ago, closing
its doors in March for a fancy makeover — and a total rebrand.

While the Covid-19 lockdown delayed things, after 18 months of planning the doors of Mexican-inspired restaurant and bar, Margos, are set to swing open this coming Wednesday.

The name’s short for margaritas, one of the many tequila-based cocktails bartenders will
be whipping up, alongside taco dishes created in the kitchen.

It’s also a fresh take on the original name, ‘Narcos’, which wasn’t received well by Queens
town’s Latin American community.

General manager Bert Haines says they didn’t mean to cause offence with the original name, and had no issues with changing the brand.

‘‘When people hear the word ‘narcos’ they might associate it with gangs, and the activity associated with that.’’

Narcos is also the name of a hit Netflix series focusing on the life of Columbian drug kingpin and murderer Pablo Escobar.

Haines says the original name was meant to be snappy and light-hearted.

‘‘We’re developing a product we want people to get hooked on, have a good time and go real high-energy, and narcotics sort of rolls along that line, so there was a bit of tongue-in-cheek and edge to the name.’’

But, he says the CBD’s new hot-spot — upstairs from Rhino’s Ski Shack in The Mall —
is something he and managing director James Ace want to be ‘‘passionate about’’ and ‘‘proud of’.

So they went back to the drawing board.

Ace admits people have told them not to open in the Covid-19 aftermath, but Haines says there are positive signs showing from their other bars.

‘‘For the Queenstown community to have something that’s new and exciting to come and try, it adds another flavour into the mix.

‘‘It’s still a crystal ball — we don’t know what’s right around the corner, but trade has definitely been better than anticipated and we have to support that.’’

Haines says the Future Bars team, which also owns Rhino’s, Minus 5 Ice Bar and Little
Blackwood, wants to ‘‘put our foot down and deliver’’.

‘‘We are really excited to open a new business at a time when businesses are struggling.

‘‘We felt there has been a gap for a high-energy, exciting Mexican [restaurant] in Queenstown for many years.’’

The new spot, which’ll employ 15 people, opens at 5pm next Wednesday and stays open till
midnight Thursdays through Saturdays.

If higher Covid-19 restrictions are reintroduced here before then, Ace says they’ll still open
and serve takeaways.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz