Revolver reloaded for gigs


Long-struggling Queenstown bar owner John Stapleton will relaunch a bigger, better version of live-music venue Revolver tomorrow night. 

Stapleton spent four years slogging it out in a 200-capacity space above Queenstown Taxis on Shotover Street before pulling the plug in April. 

But now with new business partners, he’s bounced back with what he’s calling Revolver 2.0 – a 400-capacity space in The Ram bar across the street. 

“We’ll be upping the ante on national and international acts. We can attract higher-calibre gigs than we could over the road.” 

Revolver 2.0 won’t just host live shows. The front area is its own separate bar for people not interested in paying to head through to the live venue out back. 

The official launch headliner tomorrow night is Revolver regular Taos, a Christchurch reggae group. An industry party on Saturday is headlined by Battle of the Bands winner Unknown Peace from Auckland. 

Stapleton’s kicked things off unofficially with The Jordan Luck Band, Phoenix Foundation and Anika Moa in the past three weeks. 

He’s promising more big-name acts this month with Californian punk band Strung Out, Kiwi group Tahuna Breaks and comedian Ewen Gilmour all scheduled. 

Joining forces with former Base Backpackers bosses Matt Hirst and Campbell Shepherd is a potent combination, Stapleton says. “They have the back­packers and the bus networks. I have the gig contacts. It’s definitely going to rattle some cages in town.” 

The deal over The Ram lease happened quickly, Stapleton says. 

“We couldn’t sleep on it. When other operators heard what was going to happen, they made moves.” 

He’s thankful his former landlord allowed him to exit his old Revolver lease. 

“He knew we were struggling. He was kind enough to give us the option to step out and we took it.”
For now Stapleton is rolling up his sleeves, helping with everything from final renovations to night duty and clean-ups. 

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, but I just know it’s going to be a lot of hard work.”