After six years in business the “home of Nelson’s craft beer” is closing.
Ray Weston made the call as the lease on Tahunanui’s Bel-Aire Tavern is up in March. They had the business up for sale but did not receive any viable offers.
Ray, who also owns Hotrock Pizza, opened the bar in an art deco building six years ago as a way to offer locally brewed craft beers to the community.
“When we started there was nothing in Nelson that was showcasing the best of Nelson’s beer industry.”
Six years on, he says now craft beer has become mainstream.
“That’s great to see. It probably justifies what we were doing at the time.”
However, now was the time to call last drinks.
“I’ve done my course of time with it, it’s time for me to move on. I love it, I live upstairs, the people who come here are amazing.”
So, on March 9 at 11am, all the fit-out of the bar and kitchen will go up for auction. There is everything from fryers, to coffee makers, to beer taps, fridges and bar stools.
Bar manager Verena says she will miss all the guests.
“I’ve loved it, it’s been great. It was always such a nice feeling coming to work, just making people comfortable and looking after them.”
Ray had looked at the building for a number of years. He says it was a derelict building when he took it over.
“I took a punt, did a fit-out and had six good years.”
He says people’s social lives have changed with drink driving laws being hardened.
“I don’t know if it has saved any lives, possibly not. I’m really concerned that people don’t socialise as much as they did. Social media isn’t a substitute for face to face dialogue. I worry about the future.”
The viewing of the auction is on March 8 from 11am to 3pm.