The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Owners of Ponsonby bar Clipper announce sale and closure

Four years after opening its doors on Ponsonby Road, Auckland, Clipper has been sold.

Owned by Barney Toy, Darren Mynes, Jacob Briars, James Millar and Bill Scott, Clipper first made an appearance on Ponsonby Road in July 2019, and has since picked up a number of international awards including TOTC Best Bar Team Asia Pacific 2019 and 2020 and TOTC Best International Cocktail Bar Asia Pacific 2022.

“When we opened, the ambition was to open a bar that New Zealand’s never had, a table service only cocktail bar where everything was about the hospitality experience from when you walked into the door,” Toy – a fixture on and off in New Zealand hospitality for the last 15 years – told The Feed.

“We were looking at bars like Dante’s in New York, Three Sheets, Bulletin Place – world-renowned bars that are nothing about the nonsense of gimmicky garnishes.”

The Feed‘s Tash McGill says the owners set out to open a bar that felt and expressed itself on an international level and New Zealand’s geographical distance from other parts of the world has always made the migration of inspiration, ideas and innovation slightly slower.

“Add the closed borders and the jet-lag is even longer. And it turns out – the New Zealand domestic crowd weren’t really ready for this kind of bar according to Toy and Mynes,” she says.

“Sometimes I think Kiwis think that a bar should serve Steinlager and Sauvignon Blanc and that’s it,” Mynes told McGill.

“But that’s a pub, where cocktails are the thing on the back of the menu, or the back of a wine list.

“Whereas, I think, every bit of feedback we’ve had, we’ve had people that live in like New York, lived in Manhattan and said that this was one of the best bars they’ve ever sat in – so we did it, we made an international bar in Auckland!”

Clipper’s home was the site of Surrender Dorothy and Mea Culpa and when it closes on September 29, it will become a Hendricks pop-up until the new owners open the new concept towards the end of the year.

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