Kings­land busi­nesses hunt Lion’s share

Central Leader - - HEALTH & BEAUTY - JACK­SON THOMAS

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.

JACK­SON THOMAS/FAIR­FAX NZ

Neigh­bour­hood Bar in Kings­land was packed with Lions fans be­fore their match against the Blues at Eden Park.

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