Two of Queenstown’s most iconic bars are in new hands.
Searle Lane’s Bardeaux and Barmuda were this week sold by Good Group to new owners Remarkable Hospo, a subsidiary of Remarkable Group, which also runs Remarkable People.
Directors Blair McNaughton, Ed Stott and Hayden Dillon, along with group ops manager Cody Hughes, took possession yesterday.
McNaughton has a lengthy history in hospo — he was previously an owner of bars including the former Buffalo Club, on Brecon St, Vinyl Underground, Habana, Bar Up, Zephyr and the Frankton Arm Tavern — before selling up and setting up recruitment company, Remarkable People.
He and Stott, the former boss of Allied Security in Queenstown, have been in business together for the past six years through Remarkable People and started thinking about what the Remarkable Group’s next step might be.
‘‘We always thought hospo would be one of those steps.
‘‘I’ve been talking to Al [Spary, Good Group Hospitality chair] for a number of years about potentially arranging something, and it all kind of came together, I guess, over the past few months, really.’’
Stott says after spending 12 years outside bars, working the door, ownership was the next logical step.
‘‘[Owning] two iconic Queenstown bars, it’s exciting times.’’
They’ve brought in Dillon, who has a background in banking and finance, who chairs the Remarkable People advisory board.
From St Bathans, but living in Hamilton, Dillon says he’s always wanted to get into something in the region.
‘‘This was always something on the radar and so when an opportunity came up I was pretty keen to jump in and the boys let me put some money in, and kept me away from the bar,’’ he laughs.
‘‘I think between all of us we’ve got some skill to contribute and have a lot of fun and hopefully do really well.’’
They’ve retained all but two staff, who decided to move on to different opportunities, and while they have a ‘‘handful’’ of holes to fill, one of the immediate aims is to get Barmuda back to a seven-day-a-week operation.
Longer-term, they’ve got plans to give that premises some much-needed love to reinstate it to its former glory.
Hughes: ‘‘It’s got great bones and huge potential, so it’s just bringing it back to the Barmuda of old.’’