The last thing Bonnar Anderson had on his mind when he visited Nelson at Easter was buying a bar.
He was visiting the city for a weekend with mates when friend Tony Crosbie, who owns Richmond's Star and Garter, told him he had "best have a look" at an empty bar in Bridge St.
Impressed, Mr Anderson put aside his plans to buy tickets to the United States to visit Bonneville Speed Week 2012 and the motorbike rally Sturgis, and swapped the holiday for a "whirlwind" few weeks of getting the bar, Rattle n Hum, ready in time to open tonight.
"I'm a bit disappointed I'm going to miss it, but there are apparently bigger and better things called a bar in Nelson."
Rattle n Hum was formerly RT's Party Bar, which opened briefly as the Top of the South Sports Bar after RT's was sold.
The bar will offer gourmet burgers and pub food, including crumbed Stewart Island cod, buffalo wings and spare ribs.
It is among a number of changes in Bridge St.
The Phat Club next door has also been sold, with the new owners taking possession of the building next month. They are staying quiet about their plans for the building, but have indicated it will remain in the hospitality trade.
Mr Anderson, who has been in hospitality since he was 16, said he had owned bars and cafes in Gore, Te Anau and Riverton.
He described himself as a lover of motorbikes and classic cars. He had wanted to put one of his old boats on the ceiling of his bar, but there was not enough room.
However, he found space for his Harley-Davidson 2008 Anniversary Custom Dyna Superglide, which sits on the shelf behind the bar. Memorabilia from the US and New Zealand, including street signs and old automobile industry advertising signs are on the wall and set the tone for his bar.
"My shed is looking rather empty at the moment."
Mr Anderson said the interior of the bar was disgusting and he had given it a huge clean and spent many hours sprucing it up and getting it ready for the opening.
"I'm really excited to be in Nelson."
- © Fairfax NZ News