Kingsland businesses hunt Lion’s share
Kingsland bars and eateries are gearing up for an influx of customers this Lions tour.
The British and Irish Lions kicked off their Auckland campaign against the Blues at Eden Park and will play the first test against the All Blacks there on June 24.
Several Kingsland hot spots will be offering special menus ‘‘showcasing house specialities and Kiwi favourites’’, said Christine Foley, manager of the Kingsland Business Society.
‘‘In 2005 and at the Rugby World Cup, fans were amazed at the variety of restaurants within a few metres of Eden Park,’’ Foley said.
‘‘Whether they wanted fine dining, ethnic food or fish and chips, it was all there and there’s even more choice now.’’
Kingsland is home restaurants and 8 bars.
The last time the Lions visited, the 20,000-odd supporters contributed more than $120 million to the New Zealand economy.
Steve Gillett, chairman of the business association and owner of The Kingslander, remembers the fanfare of the last tour but believes this one will be even bigger for Auckland, given the tour to 38 schedule.
‘‘We opened in 2005 ahead of the third test but seeing as though the Lions were already down two, the game didn’t have a lot of meaning and I think a lot of their fans decided to just go on holiday and enjoy New Zealand instead,’’ Gillett said.
‘‘We were busy but not crazy busy. I think as we have both the Blues game and the first test match here, 2017 will be much bigger and we are preparing for that.’’
Last week, bar owners had a meeting with police to discuss the liquor ban and security.
‘‘We will be using a combined security team who will be in contact with each other, meaning that if someone is causing trouble at one bar and is removed, they will not then be able to enter another,’’ Gillett said.
Ahead of a big match, The Kingslander is usually at capacity at around 5pm, Gillett said.
He expected that to be much earlier over the next few weeks.
The business association worked with Auckland Transport, advising people to avoid the rush and get in early.
There are free buses and trains for ticket holders to Eden Park games for up to three hours before kick off.
Neighbourhood Bar in Kingsland was packed with Lions fans before their match against the Blues at Eden Park.