Nick Inkster started dreaming up plans to open a bar during his time working as a carpenter for six years in Western Australia. As a Christchurch born kid, Nick's ties to the city pulled him back home to begin his business mission and, with the help of business partner (and fellow Cantab) William Lepoutre, pen was first put to paper in March 2015. Now, after just over a year of full throttle action, the duo have just opened up the Old Government Building (O.G.B) Bar and Café, the first hospitality establishment Cathedral Square has seen since pre-quake days.
It certainly hasn't been easy-going with the consent process setting Nick back a good few months (as well as the time he took off to "research bars" in England for the Rugby World Cup). "People were telling me I was gambling big time," he says. "They would doubt my judgements and question my ideas... but I was fed up with seeing developers putting projects on hold so I decided someone had to show some confidence and lead the way."
Although the hospitality scene in Christchurch has seen a recent boom, with something new popping up each week, Nick believes there has been something missing from the cityscape for quite sometime now. For Nick, O.G.B introduces an opportunity to inject the heritage back into Christchurch and to create something that will be around for years to come. The old-school style of the bar has been designed to perfectly complement the traditional Heritage building it is set in. From the bar's wooden library ladder and the beautiful brass instruments that overhang a live music stage, to the wait staff uniforms, featuring suspenders and waistcoats, you can walk into O.G.B and expect to leave the 21st Century behind for the night.
It's not just the Christchurch nightlife that O.G.B are signing up for, but with a handy sash window by the entranceway, businesspeople and early birds of the city are able to grab their morning takeaway coffee and a selection of New York styled bagels through the window from 6.30am onwards. Then, when evening returns, this set up can be utilised so that patrons gathered at outside tables are able to rock up to the opening for a top-up of quality beer on tap. Nick Inkster really has thought of everything.
O.G.B adds something fun and interesting to the Christchurch picture, with doormen ready to open doors, live music every night, a selection of gourmet tapas, and local wine and craft beers on offer. After a sorry few years for Cathedral Square, Nick is looking forward to it becoming a popular destination once again. "I want people to say to their friends: "Let's meet in the Square... let's go have a drink and a good night at O.G.B".