Spruce-up for old RSA premises

Whanganui Midweek - - COMMUNITY LINK - By PAUL BROOKS

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.

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