‘Bloody hard’ to see pub shut

Lumsden Hotel publican Tim Hanna was set to close the tavern last night. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS
Lumsden Hotel publican Tim Hanna was set to close the tavern last night. PHOTO: BEN ANDREWS
The doors have shut on another country pub in the South — with the publican describing it as a tragedy.

The Lumsden Hotel served its last pint on Friday night as publicans Tim and Janel Hanna finished up.

But unlike other hospitality businesses which have struggled to stay financially afloat, the couple said the business was viable, but pointed the finger at the landlord, saying he appeared to have no interest in keeping the tavern open.

"We have reached the point where we wanted to retire and move on. We wanted to hand it over to someone and give them a helping hand but it is not going to happen," Mr Hanna said.

"We have had a brilliant season and sure, winters are hard, but you make your money when the sun shines."

He criticised landlord Danny Nicol, who had previously been the publican and still owned the building.

"We have set up a good business here, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in keeping the doors open. He can’t be bothered.

"We have put our heart and soul into the building. It is bloody hard to see a beautiful, historic and working building lay empty. It is a tragedy."

Mr Nicol declined to comment when contacted. He said he would have something to say next week.

Mr Hanna said the couple had at various times looked to buy the building but it had always been too complicated. There were earthquake standards to be met.

He had pictures of a hotel operating at the site in 1875.

He had given his 60s to the job but the couple, who previously ran the Bannockburn Hotel, had a small block of land in Lumsden they wanted to work on and needed to retire.

Four jobs would go and the town would lose 10 rooms of accommodation.

The Whistle Inn, which opened last year after being closed for about a decade, is the other pub in the town.

The Patearoa Tavern and the Commercial Hotel in Omakau have both closed their doors this year while the Waikaka Tavern remained open late last year after the community took it over.

Northern Community Board chairman Greg Tither said it was a shame the hotel had to shut but with two watering holes in the town it was always going to be tough for both to remain open.

The hotel had a history of opening and closing and it may open again in the future, so the community would just have to wait and see.