Backpackers hostel to replace town bar

KAT DUGGAN
Last updated 09:01 22/05/2014
 The Loft
FAIRFAX NZ
ALL CHANGE: The Loft on Kinross St will be turned into a backpackers.

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A Blenheim night spot will be reinvented ahead of proposed changes to the local alcohol policy.

The Loft owner Gary Smith hopes to reopen the Kinross St bar as a backpackers, following earthquake strengthening to the building early next year.

He will close the bar on June 8, and strengthening work on the building will take place at the start of next year.

"I just think it's about time, there were several reasons but the main reason [to shut now] was the earthquake strengthening."

On top of the work required on the building, Smith said rising expenses and potential changes to the Marlborough alcohol policy meant keeping the bar open would not be viable.

If put into place, the new policy would require bars and pubs to close their doors by 2am daily, which was an hour earlier than under the existing policy.

"If that went through it wouldn't be worth it so I decided to make a change now," he said.

He bought the building about 18 months ago, and also runs an accommodation complex for seasonal vineyard workers in Grovetown.

"I've found it's a lot less hassle than running a pub."

Closing The Loft provided an opportunity to provide accommodation in Blenheim which was more central than many of the existing backpacker options.

"A lot of people come to town and they don't have cars. My other accommodation is out of town and that's always an excuse [for people not to stay], that ‘I don't have a car'," Smith said.

kat.duggan@mex.co.nz

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- The Marlborough Express

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