St Johns Bar & Eatery reopened today for the opening of Visa Wellington on a Plate after closing for an interior refit just after the Jazz Festival.
It was already busy at lunchtime today, with returning regulars selecting from the VWOAP burger and Festival menu as well as the new standard menu, all created by returning head chef Simon Brackenbury.
As well as involving the staff with the refit, general manager John Sommerfield and Brackenbury (who is also executive chef for the Trinity Group), have used the break to develop training systems.
The break has also meant the kitchen staff have been able to take time off as desired, and return refreshed. New staff are on the floor as well.
The refit has involved moving the island bar to the east side of the main room, putting in a new fully wooden floor and deco wallpaper, installing bespoke banquettes and custom-made furniture, and establishing a range of flexible spaces that can be used discretely or in combinations for events, meetings or private occasions, and work with whatever weather Wellington can come up with in winter, summer or our turbulent spring.
The winter lounge and back dining room will be cleared tonight for one of St Johns’ VWOAP events, the sold-out party, Puttin’ on the Ritz.
As befits a party themed around prohibition, and the art deco heritage of the building which was home to Wellington Free Ambulance from 1932 to 1994, St Johns will be converted to a speakeasy with partygoers transported back to a time of bootlegged liquor and debauchery, music from High Society and costumes of the 1930s, and some theatrical surprises in store.
One of St Johns two 1930s themed outdoor drive-in movie sessions on the Wellington waterfront is also sold out. Allocation is exhausted for the Tuesday 14 August screening of The Wizard of Oz, but places are still available for King Kong on Friday 24 August.