San Francisco bar still rocking on?

TALIA CARLISLE
Last updated 09:27 10/04/2014

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The Wellingtonian

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Music-goers mourning the loss of San Francisco Bathhouse don't have to say goodbye yet.

The Cuba St venue closed on December 31, with the promise of an updated, better venue opening a few months later.

However, it has been holding gigs since February 21 and nothing appears to have changed.

Owner Tim Ward added to the intrigue.

"There is something mysterious going on, but unfortunately I can't comment on anything," he said this week.

Ward said work was not complete and would not comment on what was planned for the venue.

In November he spoke of plans to accommodate larger audiences after fire safety requirements cut the capacity from 500 people to 250.

"It'll be better, it'll have more strings to its bow," he said then.

"It's been in dire need of an update for quite a while. It's the first step in getting the capacity back to what it used to be."

However, Wellington City Council spokesman Clayton Anderson said this week no resource consent application for increased capacity had been lodged.

"Whatever they've done is within the boundaries of what they've got," Anderson said.

"They haven't built any other fire escapes or fire doors to get that capacity up."

There were also no changes to the bar's alcohol licence, meaning the venue could not have changed ownership, he said.

Ward would not comment on The Wellingtonian's questions about changes to the venue, its name or its famous green room.

A Wellington musician said the room remained intact when he performed at the venue recently.

A post from the San Francisco Bath House's Facebook page said interior earthquake restrengthening of the building started on January 6.

Chris Batisan, the retail and marketing manager at neighbouring business Jocelyn Jewellery, said he had heard a mixture of construction work and musicians playing next door.

Batisan said he had heard hammering, cutting and drilling noises on and off since February.

The 1928 building, owned by Kingmoy Holdings, was put up for sale in March 2013, Ward saying then that the drastic cut to potential ticket sales made it hard to attract big-name bands unless expensive work was undertaken.

The yellow-stickered building had never been unsafe, but it was not a matter of simply putting in more fire exits.

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- The Wellingtonian

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