Bars have reopened but restrictions remain, and for some that means sticking with the basics.

The Barracks in St Hill St, Whanganui, reopened last Thursday and its restaurant reopens tomorrow, but, as Mick Paul explains, lockdown enabled things to get done.

Mick and his partner, The Barracks' owner Denise Vincent, used the time to be productive.

There are new mural-sized pictures to add to the Kiwi sporting greats that adorn the walls, including shots of cycling champs Dayle and Cath Cheatley and Whanganui bowls legend, Peter Bellis, among others.


Mick says cricketer Eric Head is due to go up on the wall shortly too. Some of the dozens of pictures are autographed. A matching set of motorcycle racing simulators are at the end near the pool room and the stage is home to two Indian motorcycles and their drip trays.

While the kitchen was closed the restaurant got a revamp. Colourful new baffles provide decor and noise reduction on the ceiling and hanging light globes complete the effect.

"I bought these new lights to go with them so at night it's beautiful," says Mick.

New carpet and lino was due to go in before the restaurant opens and there is work to be done out on the deck at the side of the building, including floor covering from Burgess Matting, a local business.

The Barracks opened for business at 4pm last Thursday and about 70 people took advantage of that, says Mick.

When Denise walked in just after 4 o'clock, there were about 30 people in the bar and they gave her a round of applause. Mick says some of the patrons were new to The Barracks.

He says the pokies are allowed to operate but pool tables and darts are on hold for now because of Covid-19 restrictions. Plastic shields have been erected between the pokie machines.

Live entertainment will restart when the Government relaxes level 2 restrictions. Until then, Denise and Mick will make The Barracks the best it can be for their patrons.