New bar claims Victory
No more Malbas babysitting, happy hoursCHRIS HYDE
Palmerston North's newest bar will open on Thursday - shaking off earthquake strengthening concerns by mothballing the southern end of its Rangitikei St building.
Victory Social Club is opening in the safe northern end of the building that once housed the controversial Malbas Bar and Nightclub.
Malbas closed in December because it met just 10 per cent of the building code on its southern side.
After a $350,000 rebranding, the new club's transformation is complete.
Manager Ricky Quirk is back in town and spoke to the Manawatu Standard ahead of Victory's opening.
He said the cost of earthquake strengthening became too much for the building's landlord and they could not afford insurance premiums in an earthquake-prone building.
The northern half of the building remained safe to occupy so Malbas' owners made the decision to reopen in there, using their closure to bring fresh life to "a dead horse".
Victory would be aimed at 25 to 30 year olds, he said.
"With Malbas it was 100 per cent student. We used to make our money in 13 hours a week and there was a lot of controversy with it," Quirk said.
"There were always queues down the road, but they were pre-loading, they weren't spending money.
"The reputation we got had nothing to do with the way we were running it. But with the 18 to 22-year-olds that loved the place, I wouldn't say we were babysitting them, but at that age they're always a wee bit irresponsible."
Victory Social Club will occupy half the space of Malbas but it will still have space for DJs, a dance floor, big screen TVs, a pizza cafe and 18 pokie machines.
The social club vibe is a nod to the ailing sporting market they are hoping to reinvigorate in Palmerston North.
Another, perhaps more important, aim is to get people in to the bar before 10pm.
"It's fair to say we are going to end up with some students because this is a student town, but we are hoping to get others in," Quirk said.
"Malbas wasn't a place you would go for after works drinks but we think there is a tea-time market in Palmy and we want to explore that."
Happy hours are off the menu and loyalty cards are being introduced.
Quirk is pleased to be back in Palmerston North and is being kept busy with the opening of a new late-night diner next to Shooters Bar - which he also manages.
Fat Boys' Diner will open in a few weeks time and will rival the popular Golden Takeaways, but offer more upmarket late-night nosh, he says.
With Malbas out of action for so long, it was good for the city to have a change in scene, he said.
"It's been a long time since we had anything new in Palmy."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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