Christchurch jazz venue ‘unique’ to city

3:50 PM Friday March 2, 2018 Paul Charman

Patrons enjoying an outdoor courtyard at Vesuvio, 4 Papanui Rd, Merivale, Christchurch. Photo / Supplied

Vesuvio, a popular Christchurch jazz bar in suburban Merivale, is up for sale as a going concern business within leased premises.

“This intimate establishment is renowned for its live music and for its Spanish tapas savoury dishes that are served with drinks.” says LINK Business broker Phil Adcock who selling Vesuvio for an asking price of $860,000 plus stock.

Describing Vesuvio as “a seriously profitable operation”, Adcock says the jazz venue has built up a strong following since the early 1990s: operating first at Oxford Terrace, before re-locating post the earthquakes.

It has been in the present leased premises, at 4 Papanui Rd, Merivale, since 2014.

He says the business shows a strong operating profit of $258,349 per annum.  

“It offers an astute operator a return well in excess of 30 per cent return on investment. And there are further opportunities to grow the late night business, the function business and to open for lunch.”

Adcock says the present owner, Matt Lingen, has decided to retire following 42 years in the hospitality business, presenting an opportunity that is unique in Christchurch for somebody to take over.

“I don’t use the word ‘unique’ lightly — in my view there’s nothing else in town quite like this cool and funky hospitality venue,” says Adcock.

“As well as being a great place to hear live jazz, Vesuvio has always been known for its cocktails, cigars, craft beers, whiskeys, private rooms and outdoor courtyards.

“Following three years in the present location it remains as popular as ever; continuing to be a place to meet really interesting people.”

Adcock puts the credibility down to Lingen’s astute management, a man he describes as, “a visionary with huge experience in hospitality”.

“Matt knows what works and what doesn’t — he is respected as a consultant to the industry, and this establishment has been his personal project.

“Vesuvio is a place where Matt has put together all the elements required to set a benchmark for the industry.”

Adcock lists some of Vesuvio’s features:

  • It is fully staffed and managed, including bookkeeping, accounting and reporting systems. There are four full time staff plus two part-timers, but the owner is not required to work. “Currently Matt runs it as a hands-off business and although he does keep an eye on it, it is usually with a cigar in one hand and a glass of wine in the other listening to live music or chatting with friends,” he says.
  • Vesuvio is a “free house”; nobody but the owner controls what food and drink is sold there. Lingen chooses the best of products to suit his clientele, meaning no liquor or food company can dictate what is on offer.
  • Live music lovers seek the establishment out to hear bands and musicians they admire.
  • Vesuvio received Fairfax’s only five-star review in Christchurch; has a five-star rating on Facebook and 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor. It is listed in Cityscape with a long-term advert, and appears on web pages under searches for nightlife, bar, restaurant, live music and so forth. Meanwhile, Vesuvio Jazz & Tapas has a top of the page rankling on Google. It was nominated for three hospitality awards and won the award for Best Front Of House Team for 2017.
  • Vesuvio is thought to be the New Zealand wine bar most resembling those in the lanes of Melbourne, Barcelona and Berlin.
  • Out-of-towners, particularly Aucklanders, tend to seek this establishment out.  “In particular, they appreciate that 50 top wines are available by the glass, a feature of the bar occasioned by Matt’s special system,” says Adcock.

 He says with the re-opening of the retail and office precinct there will be new cafes, restaurants and bars, notably along The Terrace development, Oxford St and High St.

“While these will bring competition, they will also expand the Christchurch hospitality universe. It is anticipated the new venues will draw people back into the city, creating a larger customer pool,” says Adcock.