Spruce-up for old RSA premises
It used to be the local RSA, but local woman Denise Vincent has taken it over and put her own stamp on it, with some concessions to its former identity.
It’s called The Barracks Sports Bar and while there have been quite a few changes, there’s more than just a nod to the old RSA.
“It’s a mark of respect, really,” says Denise. “We’ve got The Ammo Room, Bunker Bar, The Remington Bar and Restaurant and the Duke Bar.” It’s now a sports bar and restaurant.
“Our first day of trading will be Friday, November 16. We’ll be open from 11am for lunch and we’ve got a live band that night. We’ve got a bar licence until 2am.”
The band is Whiskey Mama — Fred Loveridge (guitar, vocals), Kerry O’Sullivan (lead vocals), John Steedman (bass, vocals), Kevin de Lacy (keyboard) and Glen Marsh (drums).
The Duke Bar includes a Wall of Fame with big pictures of Whanganui sports people . . . and a couple of local celebrity horses.
“It’s people who’ve gone to national level in their sport, as well as Who Shot the Barman and Veandercross.” Denise pointed out Bill and Glen Osborne, Joline Henry, Gary Anderson, Will Bamber and Les Wilson.
Included is one of the entries from the last Soap Box Derby — the cart made to look like bagpipes.
“Because it looked so good.” TAB facilities are next to that wall.
On another wall are huge monochrome pictures of the famous motorcycling Coleman family — father Percy and sons Rod and Bob. Included in one of the pictures is spanner man Graham Paul, the father of Denise’s partner Mick Paul.
As well as big screen TVs, new carpet and fittings, sound system, paint, wiring, lighting, plumbing and a general spruce up throughout the building, some of the walls have been lined with realistic-looking schist.
The restaurant now seats 75 and bookings are coming in thick and fast.
Last Saturday they held the 2018 Wanganui Rugby Awards in The Barracks, at which the guest speaker was Sir Michael Jones (KNZM). Sir Michael cut the ribbon to open the premises. A plaque commemorates the occasion.
Work started on upgrading the building on September 10, using only Whanganui contractors.
“They’ve been great and on to it so quickly, which is why we’re up and running on the 16th.
“We’ve got some awesome staff,” says Denise. Lou Ockey is the the manager.
Some of the former RSA staff have stayed on and, what’s more, RSA Target Shooting Wanganui has retained its rifle range and facilities underneath the building. They have been there for 75 years.
The pool and snooker room has been revamped and new gaming machines have been installed in a room off the Duke Bar.
Rooms have been put aside for hire for conferences and staff training functions and Denise hopes to see some wedding receptions held there.
A 22-space carpark came with the building and Denise says they’ll soon be providing a courtesy vehicle for patrons.
Mick Paul and Denise Vincent in The Barracks in St Hill St.