Experts run pubs for PwC

DAVE BURGESS
Last updated 05:00 04/08/2014

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A fistful of companies running pubs around the country have been placed in receivership but a pair of enterprising Wellington booze barons have picked up the management of some of them to keep the drinks flowing.

And the same businessmen also have plans to open a "funky seafood restaurant" at the former site of Martin Bosley's Yacht Club Restaurant.

Jamie and Andrew Williams, co-owners of Upstream Hospitality, are managing, for receivers PwC, The Residence in Courtenay Place, the Water Bar in Wanaka and the Stellar Bar in Whanganui. They may also end up running a Palmerston North bar for the receivers.

The sole director of Lake Front Entertainment, the company which operated the Water Bar, is listed on the Companies Register as being Paul Lecheminant from Island Bay.

A further six companies in which he is sole director have also gone into receivership, while another with Ricky Paul Quirk has also suffered the same fate.

Quirk is a former hospitality mogul who owned bars across the South Island. He was declared bankrupt in 2009.

Jamie Williams said Upstream were in a guardianship role at The Residence, Water Bar and Stellar Bar on behalf of the receivers.

"They asked us to run the businesses, to put our systems and processes in place so they get transparency and visibility into the operation."

The receivers covered all costs and collected the turnover, while Upstream had a few staff monitoring the bars, he said.

Upstream was started eight years ago with a steady-as-it-goes approach to pubs in the suburbs.

"If there's a tortoise and a hare, then we are the tortoise in the hospitality world."

But he said operating bars in Courtenay Place and Wanaka did have benefits.

"We got the opportunity to see what it was like running a bar in a resort town [Wanaka]. Every time I go to a resort town I think look at all the money these bars are making because it's always busy. Normally you don't see what happens in the off-season.

"The same in Courtenay Place . . . Once again we get to look at that market and figure out if one day we'd like to do it."

Williams said he did not yet know if his company would buy any of the bars should the receivers decide to sell them.

Upstream had also signed a lease agreement with the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club where it would open a "funky seafood restaurant for the masses".

Attached to that would be a fish & chip shop catering to the takeaway market.

"We never tendered to go into the club. They chased us and said they want a community kind of environment here rather than a high-end restaurant.

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"They want to target people who hit the middle of the market, not the top."

Williams said they were in the process of applying for a new resource consent.

"We have been told by Wellington City Council that there is no way in hell that we would get a bar licence.

"It's either a restaurant or nothing."

Williams expected the restaurant to open early next year.

Upstream currently has seven bars including The Gasworks in Miramar and the Khandallah Pub, its first which opened in 2006.

Upstream has just announced it will start a beer bar on The Terrace, replacing the Wine Loft, to open in mid-September.

IN FLUX

Paul Le Cheminant, Paul Andrew Le Cheminant or Paul Lecheminant, is listed as sole director in these companies

Post Office Lane Bars, in receivership

Festival Developments, in receivership

Taupo Quay Pub, in receivership

Consolidated Holdings, in receivership

Lake Front Entertainment, in receivership

Two Guys Trading, in liquidation and receivership

Hospo Bros, in liquidation

And Brae Court Investments with Le Cheminant and Ricky Paul Quirk as directors, in receivership

Source: Companies Office 

- BusinessDay.co.nz

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