Winners and losers for Hobbit cafe scene

SOPHIE SPEER
Last updated 05:00 22/11/2012
Regal Chinese Restaurant owner Oliver Lai
ROSS GIBLIN/Fairfax NZ
FAN SITE: Regal Chinese Restaurant owner Oliver Lai says the Courtenay Place eatery has been booked out for The Hobbit premiere.

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Fans of The Hobbit have booked out window tables and balcony seats at restaurants and bars in Courtenay Place to be close to the action for Wednesday's premiere.

Regal Chinese Restaurant owner Oliver Lai said two of their six balcony tables - each seating 10 people - were booked out the day the premiere date was announced.

The remaining four have since been booked, and the restaurant is expecting a busy day.

"We're pretty much booked out," Mr Lai said. "Traditionally, we do get a pretty good view [of the red carpet], and people are even trying to get on our roof."

Streetside restaurants have been told they must take in their footpath tables from 6am on the day of the premiere.

Hummingbird owner Mary Coleman said having her outside licence rescinded had cost her money. The restaurant has been booked out for a party, but it had had to offer a discount because of the lack of outdoor space.

"With, what, 170 film crews coming, making the streets look barren, I don't think it's a good look," she said.

Sweet Mother's Kitchen also must remove outdoor seating, cutting seating by about a quarter.

Owner Diana Parker said the council had been "unsympathetic" in forcing restaurant and bar owners to remove their seating by 6am, despite celebrations not kicking off until after noon.

After being barricaded in during the Return of the King premiere in 2003, Deluxe Expresso Bar will close early.

Manager Fiona Hewitt said people would be unable to access the cafe so it planned to close at 4pm.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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