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  • Will Irvine

New Nightclubs Enter Town to Little Fanfare

WILL IRVINE (HE/HIM)


It’s common conjecture at this point that Courtenay Place is either dead or dying. Every few months, Stuff or the Post drags the corpse out to beat it around further. Frequently accused suspects in this murder include freshers, the pandemic, and (perhaps more accurately) price gouging by the small group of businesses that own most of the clubs. 


Allegations of a dead club scene are not helped by the arrival of two newcomers on the scene, Bliss and St. Diablo. Bliss, a self-proclaimed “Bar & Cafe” which opened in October 2023, attracts few-to-no patrons even on a busy night, despite being the first stop along the eastward crawl down Courtenay Place. On its inception, Bliss seemed poised for success. It shares a name with NZ’s “national drinking song”, has decently priced drinks, and offers the unique phenomenon of regular Bollywood nights, a genre not often seen in town. However, these advantages seem squandered. Bliss has had the whole summer to attract a regular clientele, and seems to have done exactly the opposite. Don’t expect them to be around for long.


St. Diablo seemed to be the hot new bad boy on the scene. Operated by Epic Hospitality (owners of Shady Lady, Eva, El Barrio, and Vinyl) the Mexican-themed club opened in late January with a much-promoted opening event. While still early in its life cycle, very few of the town-goers consulted by Salient seemed to be headed to St. Diablo, or even have any idea what it was. Furthermore, from observing the club’s Instagram stories, the dance floor seemed to be sparsely populated and filled with a largely 30+ clientele. For the time being, Salient readers may have to suppress their hopes of an authentic Mexican fiesta. 


Reports of Courtenay Place’s death may be greatly exaggerated, but they’re certainly not helped by the perceived failure of its two newest entrants. 


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