Tragedy gives bar owner drive to expand business

Residency owner Ian Lindsay opened the bar last Friday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Residency owner Ian Lindsay opened the bar last Friday. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Ian Lindsay seriously considered selling up his Dunedin hospitality businesses after his wife died of cancer two years ago.

Now he is expanding and says his wife would have been 100% behind him.

Residency, a new bar on the top floor of 11 The Octagon, is the latest venture from businessman and bar owner Ian Lindsay.

Mr Lindsay said the bar opened last Friday and was very well received by hundreds of patrons.

The premises had housed many bars over the past 15 years, including Innocent Bystander, Ratbags, and most recently Eleven Bar and Club — the last of which was ordered to close "effective immediately" in July by Dunedin’s District Licensing Committee.

Mr Lindsay said he hated seeing an empty building and buying the premises was a great opportunity, with an even better location.

The new bar is across the road from his other two businesses, Suburbia Eatery and Nightlife and Biggie’s Pizza, in Lower Stuart St.

Its proximity would allow the bar to host functions, small groups and serve as an extension of Biggie’s dining room.

Now with three spots of prime real estate in the heart of the city, Mr Lindsay said he was not afraid to have his hands full.

But his success comes off the back of a personal tragedy.

His wife, Tacey, died from cancer nearly two years ago, leaving him the sole father of two young daughters, 6-year-old Ivy and 13-year-old Georgia.

But Mr Lindsay said the loss had given him the drive to dig deep and continue building his businesses.

"It’s bloody tough and it’s all sort of happened pretty fast."

"I nearly called it quits and I was about to sell up."

"But I thought . . she’d be 100% behind me anyway — she’d either be that or kicking my ass."

Mr Lindsay said Residency was "a place for everyone" and offered music that appealed to both older and younger crowds.

Customers could look forward to a nice new environment, a variety of rooms, and a rooftop garden bar that would see patrons "out there dancing with the stars".

"You can see the stars on a nice night and the sunshine during the day, when we get it."

As well as owning three Octagon venues, he had also ventured off into several online "ghost kitchens"— food services that are exclusively online — run out of the restaurant’s kitchen and delivered all around Dunedin.

Mr Lindsay said the Octagon had become the city’s hospitality hub, but patrons were not spoiled for choice, and wanted to work with other local businesses to provide good services and variety for everyone.

He said that if Tacey could see him now she would be proud of him, and with the bar getting under way he wanted to focus more time on his family.

"Now that I’ve finished the build I can go back to spending a bit more time with my daughters."

"They haven’t seen Dad at night for a couple of months because I’ve been building things — it is bloody awesome."