Friday, June 14, 2013

Last Call At Historic Dunedin Bar

As iconic as Auckland's Gluepot Tavern, so too is Dunedin's Captain Cook Tavern.
Every student of Otago University will have solid memories of that venue. But the historic pub, which first opened in 1860, closes its doors tonight, after the bar's owners and DB Breweries gave up the lease.
No one's taken over the lease, and the University says it won't be buying the pub, even though the Otago University Students' Assn (OUSA) wanted to save it and retain it as a student pub. OUSA Prez Francisco Hernandez: "A lot of students live in this area (close to the tavern), and students are a lot safer going to a bar where they live, compared to going all the way to the Octagon, which isn't safe on some nights."
Former students took over the bar's lease about nine years ago. The pub's a student institution, but has come under increased scrutiny from licensing authorities and the police.
Dunedin's already lost two other student bars. Otago Uni bought The Bowler in 2009 and converted it into teaching spaces. A year later it also bought and closed down The Gardies to make way for a study centre.
The owners of the Captain Cook building hope to attract a new operator to continue its legacy. Meanwhile they say a notice given to DB Breweries (which led to the building closing earlier than planned) was not a notice to vacate. It was given because the company considered the lease had been breached, as the building had been deteriorating. A lease condition was to keep the building in ''excellent working order'' and, if DB did not bring the building up to scratch, the owners would consider chasing it for the cost of any work that needed to be done. DB said it was unable to comment because legal proceedings were under way...

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