When I first visited The Station Bar over a year ago, it immediately appealed with it’s London underground branding and modern gastro-pub feel. Since opening just over a year ago, the Station Bar has become established as a place of choice in Napier. I met with David Perreaux and Chantelle Diack to understand the story behind the Station Bar & Bistro and what keeps people coming back to The Station.
“We gutted the place and completely rebuilt everything. New floor, new kitchen, we even relaid all the pipes! It took a bit longer but we knew it would be worth it. If we
tried to tweak it, we knew it wasn’t going to work. It had to be a total rebuild from the ground up.” says David. The Station Bar feels fresh and clean as soon as you arrive. “We didn’t want it to have an old wood look, we wanted a modern look, we wanted it to be lighter and brighter.” says David. There is a sense of spaciousness throughout with plenty of different zones to hangout in. From the booth area, the bistro dining area, the cosy fireplace ottomans through to the high and low bar leaners inside and outside, there’s plenty of choice. “Where your eat is entirely up to you. It’s about what our customers want to do. We are a bistro and we’ll come and serve you. On the bar side, if you’ve got an account open we’ll come to you too.” says David.
The Station is just as welcoming when it comes to opening hours and menu availability. The full menu is available from opening through to 11pm seven days a week including Sunday when almost all of Napier shuts down early. “On weeknights, we also see a lot of business people from the motels who check in late. This is the first place they recommend.” says David.
I ask David what was the response when they first opened. “For those who had been here previously, WOW is the word that comes out of their mouth every time. We can’t believe this is the same place! The architects that did this came out of Wellington and we gave them the brief that it must be something that would fit in right in the middle of Courtenay Place.” says David. The Station is one of the few places that still provides a pool table, in fact the building has been custom designed with a pool table room built in. This would be the ideal place for a friendly father versus son game over a couple of beers after work.
The menu is divided according to price points making it super easy for Mum and Dad to give the kids choice without blowing the budget. With all the choice available, I ask Chantelle what’s most popular. “Our seafood chowder is by far our most popular dish.” The seafood chowder is thick and creamy, with mussels, scallops and seafood galore. Because of the winter demand, they added a super-bowl seafood chowder that is a larger mains size. “It’s been flying out the door since we added it three weeks ago.” says David.
When it comes to real produce, The Station serves everything all produce fresh. “We did the frozen thing initially and said no this isn’t good enough. That’s what people were used to, but we’ve evolved that.” says David. The Station now believes they have perfected the best burger in Hawke’s Bay using a secret they shared with Tweet2eat. “We buy in all our steaks, and then all of the ends of the eye fillet, porterhouse and scotch fillet we mince ourselves and blend 50:50 mince to ground meat. It’s a really tasty lean burger.” says David.
The Station is big on desserts too with the build your own dessert choices popular with young and old. “You get to pick your own flavoured ice cream in the bistro and that’s unique in Napier. The kids loves the choice.” says Chantelle. “It’s been just as big for the adults too surprisingly. Everyone loves goody goody gumdrops, even the guys!” laughs David.
On the bar side of things, there are details that aren’t immediately obvious but on aggregate make The Station Bar feel like the safe and friendly alternative for a Friday
night out. “We wanted to have the the nicest, flashiest bathrooms in the Bay. In the ladies we’ve hung a huge gothic mirror and full length mirror. The loos are super clean, fresh and bright.” says Chantelle. I’m invited to take a look myself, and along with my female chaperone, I accept, and can confirm they’re a step above. We return to the bar to talk beers… not a moment too soon.
There’s no jugs or handles at The Station and that’s deliberate. Every beer comes in it’s a branded special style of glass from Heineken, Erdinger, Monteiths and Tiger. The real stand out here is the Swedish cider served in a super tall glass called Rekorderlig. The wild berry is absolutely delicious and if you haven’t tried a Swedish cider, you’re in for a treat. If you needed one reason to drop into The Station Bar this would be it. For the less adventurous, The Station is the only bar with Heineken on tap in Napier with every beer served on it’s on branded coaster.
With the NPC games about to start up, The Station will be running the the free rugby bus to and from the game. The first game is on 23rd August Thursday 730pm. “There is still some Magpies season tickets available.” says Chantelle. I check and they are still available at $160 for a Magpies season ticket. “The Station is one of the Magpies sponsors too.” says David. The last game in March saw over 330 people between the Station and their big brother, The Duke of Gloucester. “What’s unique about our rugby and bar experience is you might get to ride on the actual Magpies team bus. They drop off the players, then drop off the fans. This year, we have an official park right outside the front door.
For large groups, you can pre-arrange your food before the game, and have it ready exactly when you want. “Sports clubs have approached us and have made this their after game hangout on Thursday nights after practice.” says Chantelle. “Everyone’s welcome to share our premises together.” says David. With the attention to detail from every beer that’s poured, to every burger that’s served, The Station Bistro Bar has created a bistro blueprint that is unique in Hawke’s Bay. Take a fresh look at why this Napier Bar is worth dropping in for a drink and bite to eat.
- Who wants to join me for a wild berry cider @StationHB.Tweet
- The Station believes they have perfected the best burger in Hawke’s Bay. Tweet
- @StationHB will be running the the free rugby bus to and from all local NPC games. Tweet