Diva bar and eatery is looking pretty swish thanks to new owner Carl Leipst's vision.
Carl took over the establishment three years ago and says the place was "in despair".

"We have changed nearly everything including the furniture, the bar top and the menu. We have, however, held onto most of the staff who have been amazing," Carl said.

Situated in the heart of Havelock North, Diva is well known for its diverse roles as a cafe, bar, restaurant and nightclub.

"We have rebranded but we knew how important it was to hold onto the name Diva. The name is well known throughout Hawke's Bay and in fact the country. It's a destination for visitors to come and relax with friends over a coffee or a glass of wine or beer, have a bite to eat or later in the evening have some fun with your friends.


"In the summer we love getting visitors from all over the country enjoying sitting outside on the street enjoying our beautiful sunshine."

Diva's menu is varied and caters to all tastes. Carl describes it as simple food done well — and he's right.

The $15 lunches are a great deal — I can tell you the Diva Fish and Chips is delicious. The fish just fell apart and the thrice cooked chips were lovely. The lunch menu also includes Chicken Parmigiana which was described to me by a diner as crispy chicken on a bed of creamy, cheesy pasta — very yummy.

There is also Eggs Benedict, Diva Chicken Burger, Caesar Salad and Pork Baby Back Rib. — all for just $15. There is also a diner menu, a children's menu and if you want vegan, vegetarian or gluten free "just ask" says Carl.

 Pan Fried Fish and Chips with pea puree hand cut chips, tartare and grilled lemon
Pan Fried Fish and Chips with pea puree hand cut chips, tartare and grilled lemon

Carl, who was born and bred in Hawke's Bay had been in the liquor industry for 20 years working as a rep for Lion Breweries. Diva was one of his clients

"When it came up for sale I decided to go for it. It's my first business and I'm very lucky I have a lot of support from my family," Carl says.

"I'm also so grateful for the support from our locals. They are just amazing.
"Diva has evolved — it's a great place for ladies to come and meet their friends for lunch, beers after work, and for people to dance the night away.

"I'm really happy with the final result."


Carl has recently started a new venture going into partnership with Mark Stewart the owner of the Loading Ramp. Watch this space.

■ Diva Bar and Eatery is open Tuesday to Sunday 11.30am until late.