Irish pub bounces back
An Irish flavour has returned to Wanaka with the re-opening of Fitzpatrick's Irish Pub.
The kitchen of the pub was gutted and the rest of the building severely damaged by heat and smoke after a deep-fryer caught fire in June last year.
About 80 people were in Fitzpatrick's on the night when a customer, listening to an open microphone night, noticed flames coming from the kitchen vat.
It took about 15 volunteer firefighters, with two fire engines, nearly two hours to extinguish the flames.
Bar manager and part-owner Joel Le Breton said the pub opened on December 20 and open mic sessions and entertainment from local and international musicians had since returned.
''It's good to be back. The community has come out and supported us. It's seems a lot of people missed the place,'' Mr Le Breton said.
The refurbishment included installing a new top-quality fryer.
Mr Le Brenton, who was working with two other staff members when the fire started, said flames, about two metres high, were ''licking up'' in the kitchen and it was frightening.
Their fire extinguisher and fire blanket were no match for the situation.
''It's amazing how quickly it took off.''