By PHILIP CHANDLER
Echoing its famous Chico’s heyday, an upstairs Queenstown Mall space has turned into a sports bar and music venue called Crew Room.
Owners Jenny and Terry Goulding originally bought the downstairs Captain’s Restaurant, in the historic Eureka House building, five years ago.
They’d also put in an offer on Chico’s and Old Man Rock cafe/bar downstairs, which were on the same lease.
However, Chico’s/Old Man Rock owners Lisa and Grant Murphy instead sold their lease to Wai Dining Group, which initially operated Coalfire restaurant, over these premises, then latterly The Fat Lamb.
When Wai vacated its lease in June, as an exercise in downsizing due to Covid-19, the Gouldings stepped in.
They first expanded Captain’s to include a bar by removing a separating but flimsy partition.
Then last weekend they opened Crew Room in time to show the first Bledisloe Cup rugby Test.
Terry admits it’s ‘‘a crazy time’’ to be buying a lease and opening a new bar.
‘‘There’s no way in hell we would be doing a deal like we’ve done in normal circumstances.
‘‘It’s just that we’ve looked at this for five years and we thought we’ll never get it again.’’
To say it’s a ‘‘scary’’ time to be opening is an understatement, he says.
It wouldn’t be possible if Captain’s hadn’t gone well.
Their landlord, Matt Paterson, had also been ‘‘very supportive’’.
They’ve taken on seven new staff for Crew Room, but will initially only operate from Wednesday till Sunday.
Having been in hospo for 30 years, principally in Christchurch, Terry says he’s never worked more on a refit than this one — ‘‘because times are difficult, I felt now’s the time to do a bit more yourself’’.
‘‘It’s been a hell of a job.
‘‘There’s been a lot of work on it over the years, some of it bad.
‘‘I had to replace a lot of floor — people had put down sheets of particle board with four nails and not a lot of support underneath.’’