Hospitality Awards: Right mix creates smooth setting

There’s an art to setting the right mood for people to wine, dine and relax.

Much goes on behind the scenes to provide that smooth setting – even small details are considered by finalists in this year’s Hawke’s Bay Hospitality Awards Clearview Estate Best Ambience and Style category.

At Emporium Eatery & Bar a designer fit-out forms the basis for a warm, inviting space which draws customers in – but it is the vibe inside which sees them stay.

“We were lucky enough to be given a great start it’s a pretty special place – the music we play is very specific and the lighting is very specific – ambiance doesn’t just happen automatically, it’s created.”

Newcomer Monica Loves brings a worldly, urban feel to inner-city Napier and has made a clear impact on punters since opening in December.

Part of its charm is a feeling one has “discovered” something magical down the lane, co-owner Dan Tosswill says.

“I think the beauty of the bar is the honesty and authenticity of the lane, from the start I wanted large windows to frame that honesty.”

Everything has been carefully thought out – from colour schemes to furnishings all inspired by graffiti – specifically love notes scrawled on Romeo and Juliet’s wall in Verona.

“The colours stemmed from when I was down the laneway, when it was just a big dumping ground, there’s this aspect of graffiti – that’s where the Monica Loves and Romeo and Juliet idea came from.”

The space has also been nominated as a finalist in the hospitality category of the prestigious New Zealand Interior Awards.

Havelock North’s Hugo Chang blends a taste of Shanghai with Soho flair thrown in for good measure, says co-owner Liv Reynolds.

“It’s not a fusion of east meets west, the bar is a collaboration of the two cultures.”

This hidden gem is sophisticated and chic with dark furnishings and red accents nodding to the Orient.

A great restaurant needs to have a good feel and The Old Church has that in spades – partly why it’s so popular for

weddings and special occasions, owner Moira Irving says.

“It’s an experience, when people walk in for the first time they just say ‘wow’. They see the chandelier and take in the beautiful architecture of the church.”

Part of its charm is a deliberate emphasis on soft lighting balanced with making people feel welcome.

“At night it comes into its own with the light, we use lots of candles and table settings, we want them to walk away feeling special.”

A refurbishment of the space this winter will focus on paring back decor and allowing the building’s character to shine.

Hawkes Bay Today