The second stage of The Fork and Tap redevelopment has officially finished, with the new-look building being unveiled to punters for the first time today when it opens at noon.
Two years ago, the historic part of the building, constructed in 1874, underwent seismic-strengthening and a refurbishment.
In June, work started on refreshing the later additions — which had no historic value — and the garden bar.
Publican Jeannie Crawford, who’s owned the building for the past 15 years, is stoked with the end result.
"I think we’ve nailed it.
"The whole design is really so the historic building is the jewel in the crown — it’s really to accentuate that historic building."
The former kitchen and bathrooms — stepped down from the historic building — are gone, while the marquee-covered outdoor area’s also had a complete overhaul.
Along with a slightly longer new kitchen, a second indoor dining space has been created between the historic building and the outdoor area, with capacity for about 30 diners.
Sliding windows can be opened up in summer, to make the most of the outdoor entertainment, while in winter it can be made "cosy and intimate", Crawford says.
Three new bathrooms have been constructed off the new dining area, with another three outside, just behind ‘Chief’s Bar’, a nod to her late husband, Keith.
The outdoor courtyard has been covered, with heat lamps installed, while a new outdoor fireplace has been constructed by local sculptor Conor McNicholas, using stones found underneath the old building.
While Crawford notes "a little bit of space" has been lost from the garden bar, "it’s probably better functioning", and there’s still room outside for bands.
The outdoor area can now also be hired privately, she says.
She’s full of praise for the "dream team", including interior designer Nikki Wilson and Queenstown architect Mary Jowett, and is stoked it’s been finished in time for Christmas.
Crawford says she’s also indebted to her staff — particularly Helena Smith, Steve Hards, Rikki-Lee Rapson and Larry Gronau — who’ve kept the bar and restaurant operating the whole time, using a temporary kitchen.
"That’s a huge achievement for the whole team."
While the building renovation’s now complete, Crawford’s hoping the council will come to the party and remove four carparks outside the building, on Wiltshire St, and replace them with bike parks.
"That would be the icing on the cake."
Meantime, the "soft" reopening celebrations include live music in the garden bar from 5pm till 8pm tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday — entertainment includes Sam Maxwell, Ollie McLean and ‘DJ Daz’.