Old Greymouth pub closed

By Christine Linnell

The economic downturn has claimed two more business scalps in Greymouth — the Royal Hotel, which has operated since about 1866, and Civic Video.
Royal Hotel publican owner Mark Gillespie said he was still in talks about the future of the business, although he held a farewell party yesterday before closing the doors indefinitely.
At the beginning of the month, Mr Gillespie said the business was struggling. “It’s not economical any more, with Spring Creek gone and Pike River gone, no tourists and low numbers on the train.
“We’re a victim of the circumstances of the times. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. We’ve done our best. We’ve tried, but it’s just one of those things.”
Later he said the bar might not close after all, as he was in talks with someone in Australia and there was “still something in the pipeline”.
Today he said talks were ongoing, but the pub would be closed until further notice.
As well as being one of the town’s oldest hotels, in its heyday it was also one of the busiest, and up to the 1990s was the unofficial home of the Marist Rugby League Club.
Long-time patron Paddy Byrne said he was sad to see the business go.
“It doesn’t compare with the heyday. It’s a different culture now. People used to come in at four and stay until seven.”
Without the coalminers, Ministry of Works and the railways, the hotel would have difficulty staying open.
“It’s a tough grind out there. He’s another victim of the mines — that was his midweek trade. You can’t survive just on weekends.”
Meanwhile, Civic Video is selling off all its stock before closing down on August 31.
Owners John and Jillene Magee, who have owned the video rental business since 2002, said the closure was due to economic conditions.
“It’s like a lot of places in town, with the flow-through from all the miners not getting money,” Mr Magee said. “It’s starting to hurt all the town.”
The business was selling its DVDs and other items from now until closing day. “The more the merrier. It’s one of those things where we’ve got to just try and meet all of our expenses.”