Small-town bar’s $2m makeover

‘‘The dress code hasn’t both­ered any­one.’’

The Press - - News - Kim Nut­brown kim.nut­[email protected] Camp­bell Beulink

No shorts, ac­tive wear or sneak­ers are al­lowed in a North Can­ter­bury her­itage build­ing now trans­formed into an up­mar­ket bar.

Ran­giora’s Ivory Bar, which opened last month in the old North­ern A&P build­ing, has a strict dress code: no jan­dals, no shorts, no ac­tive wear or sneak­ers and jeans.

The project has been a three-year labour of love for the fam­ily that has owned the build­ing for 15 years.

It suf­fered se­vere earth­quake dam­age in Can­ter­bury’s earthquakes and was ear­marked for de­mo­li­tion to make way for a road, but the Beulink fam­ily de­cided to trans­form it into their dream venue.

Rob Beulink, a cos­metic sur­geon, said he had dreamed of open­ing a bar years ago, but the plan was halted when he and wife Ruth started a fam­ily.

Now 20 years later, the dream has come to fruition with his chil­dren at the helm of the project.

Son Elliot, a re­cently-qual­i­fied ar­chi­tect, de­signed the ren­o­va­tion, while son Camp­bell, a lawyer, is the gen­eral man­ager.

The bar it­self is de­signed to a neo clas­si­cal aes­thetic – think art deco and The Great Gatsby.

Ruth Beulink said the theme was in­spired by a mir­ror she found in a shop in Am­ber­ley three years ago.

‘‘I saw this mir­ror and Rob and I just looked at each other and we thought this would be great in an art deco bar. The de­sign grew from that one piece.’’

Al­most ev­ery fit­ting in the bar was cus­tom made, in­clud­ing a cop­per ceil­ing sourced from Aus­tralia af­ter the Beulinks saw a sim­i­lar one in a bar in Paris.

‘‘That was not easy to in­stall – we did it all our­selves, stand­ing with our hands above our heads, hold­ing it in place while it was erected.’’

The re­fur­bish­ment cost more than $2 mil­lion and the bar is fast be­com­ing known in the area for its cock­tails, ta­pas, cham­pagne and va­ri­ety of craft beers.

‘‘We started off call­ing this project ‘the first bar’ and then it be­came ‘the best bar’. Our fam­ily home is also a his­toric home, it’s a pas­sion for us and means a lot to en­sure this ren­o­va­tion was done well,’’ Camp­bell Beulink said.

Elliot Beulink, who de­signed the fitout, said it was ‘‘a steep learn­ing curve’’. ‘‘I was still study­ing at the time and was the first per­son in my class to lodge a con­sent.’’

Camp­bell Beulink said there had been ‘‘great feed­back’’.

‘‘Peo­ple have loved it. The dress code hasn’t both­ered any­one. In fact, it’s been quite the op­po­site.

‘‘We had one lady in last week who bought a new dress just to come in and said how lovely it is to have some­thing to dress up for.’’

For Rob Beulink, the dream is al­most com­plete.

‘‘I said while we were do­ing this that this could be in the top 10 bars in the whole coun­try and who wants to be num­ber 10,’’ he said.

The fam­ily said some peo­ple had asked them why they wanted to in­vest in Ran­giora.

‘‘A lady in just the other night said ‘this is too good to be in Ran­giora’. That hon­estly made me feel sad,’’ Ruth Beulink said.

‘‘We think North Can­ter­bury is won­der­ful and has grown and changed so much and Ran­giora is the cen­tre of that. This bar is what Ran­giora de­serves.’’

DAVID WALKER/STUFF

Ran­giora’s Ivory Bar, which opened in an old her­itage build­ing last month, is be­com­ing known for its cock­tails and ta­pas.

Art deco styling and qual­ity fur­nish­ings abound in­side.

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