Hospitality industry returning to post-quake city

Bar, restaurant and cafe numbers to boom

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 31/10/2012
Stephen Hardman
DON SCOTT/Fairfax NZ

ON THE HOP: Stephen Hardman, owner of the Twisted Hop, which reopened in Woolston yesterday after 18 months out of action after the February 2011 earthquake. Bar, restaurant and cafe numbers are tipped to boom.

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Hundreds of Christchurch cafes, bars and restaurants have disappeared post-earthquake but life is coming back to the city, operators say.

Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday showed the number of Christchurch cafes and restaurants had dropped nearly 20 per cent in the year since the quake. About 550 remained as of February this year.

The number of bars and pubs has dropped nearly 15 per cent to 120, while hospitality worker numbers dropped about 20 per cent to 6000.

Zak Cassels, who expanded his family's Woolston operation by opening CBD Bar & Pizzeria inside the four avenues on Madras St two months ago, said the move was paying off.

Bar, restaurant and cafe numbers would boom, he predicted.

"The city's hardly populated still, so it's yet to happen. We're slowly getting our city back," Cassels said.

"It's working well for us and we're continuing to expand our operation there."

The Twisted Hop yesterday reopened in Woolston after its well-established home in Poplar St [Lane] was damaged in the February 2011 quake. Owner Stephen Hardman said liquor licensing officials had told him that a "huge" number of licences had been terminated after the quake, but that more than 50 new applications were being processed.

"Places are opening around the city every day and it's really heartening," he said.

James Jameson lost his business of 25 years, Le Cafe and Backstage Bakery, when the February quake severely damaged the Arts Centre.

After 18 months out of action, this month he opened St Asaph St Kitchen and Stray Dog Bar in St Asaph St.

Jameson began searching "hard out" for new central-city premises when his Arts Centre lease was terminated.

His neighbours, the Monday Room, Black Betty, The Darkroom, C4 Coffee and the Town Ball, would soon be joined by C1, Cafe Valentino, Winnie Bagoes and others, Jameson said.

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