The Captain Cook Tavern, one of few remaining student pubs
in Dunedin, may be closing its doors. Photo by ODT Files.
The future of historic Dunedin student watering hole the
Captain Cook is unclear.
DB Breweries' lease of the bar runs out at the end of June,
and the operations manager of Cook Brothers Bars, which
subleases the bar, believed the bar would most likely close
when the lease ran out.
''I would find it hard to believe that anyone would [take
over the bar],'' Guy Randall said.
However, Noel Kennedy, one of three directors of Orari Street
Properties Investments Ltd, which owns the building, said
there was no question of the Cook closing, ''and we will be
fighting to make sure that never happens under our watch''.
Various parties were being spoken to about taking over the
lease, including DB, but ''nothing has been finalised at this
point'', he said.
''The Cook has such a brand that it would be ridiculous to
let that disappear.''
He said the bar could be operated with a ''different format''
once its sublease ran out.
When contacted again, Mr Randall stood by his comments the
Cook would likely close.
''We are not going to be there. It's up to the market if
someone wants to do it, but personally I don't think [anyone
The bar made less money than in the past because students'
drinking patterns had changed. More were heading to the
Octagon to drink, he said.
The company, which had taken its name from the bar, would be
sad to see the Dunedin institution go, but hoped to go out
with a bang, he said.
''There will certainly be a lot of activity during O-Week and
then again towards the end of the lease, where maybe we dive
back in history and might have some bands back upstairs
The bar had been a ''large part of student culture for
forever and a day'', he said.
''It [was] an important part of Dunedin culture in the 1980s,
with the Dunedin sound movement. A lot of great bands have
been through there.''
DB Breweries senior communications adviser Simon Smith said
the lease expired on June 29 and the company had no intention
of extending it.
''The fact that DB holds the head lease is essentially an
historical anomaly and, as such, DB has advised the landlord
that it does not intend to enter into a new lease of the
The Captain Cook Tavern, known as the Cook, was established
in 1860 and stands as the last of the three main student pubs
in North Dunedin. The Gardens Tavern and the Bowler were
earlier bought by the University of Otago, for conversion
into academic facilities.