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Historic McNeill’s Cottage Opens New Chapter

Steve Ward and Gary Livesey, well-known in the resort for creating fun and interesting hospitality venues, are opening a new outlet in the historic McNeill’s Cottage on Church Street this winter.

McNeill’s is a landmark stone cottage built in 1882 by Scottish stonemason James McNeill and has been a hospitality destination since the early 1990s when it housed Queenstown’s first microbrewery. The new café, bar and restaurant, Yonder, will highlight downtown Queenstown’s vibrant hub with a morning to night offering of barista coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and diverse live entertainment. Gary says the concept is that Yonder will be a fun place to visit on all levels – a cultural hub for locals and an inviting spot for visitors who like the odd indulgence, good coffee and a healthy lifestyle. “The menu which is designed for social sharing is an eclectic and accessible mix inspired by visits to many different cities around the world.” Head chef Jamie Samarakkody says Yonder is committed to making their own breads, nut butters and yoghurts and the menu will reflect fresh, sustainably sourced seasonal produce locally obtained where possible. The bar stocks some of New Zealand’s finest beers including Dunedin’s Emerson’s craft beers and Wellington’s Panhead Custom Ales. There’s also a carefully selected range of local and international wines and an impressive cocktail list.

“There’s been a lot of thought go into the design of the space so the vibe evolves throughout the day to deliver bespoke experiences.”

The venue takes its liquor cabinet seriously with an interesting Gin and Spritzer collection amongst other top shelf items, including caffeinated concoctions, which are a speciality. Guests will be encouraged to soak up Yonder’s enchanting atmosphere – the staff are ardent music-lovers who care about serving up flawless hospitality experiences. The venue will cater for private groups, everything from small functions to large-scale music events. Gary says the intimate surroundings and food offering will “keep it interesting” for Queenstown. “We’ve seen a need for some more healthy food options, a bit of coffee diversity and some more interesting local focused entertainment,” he says. “It’s been great fun sketching and designing the venue ourselves and exciting to be opening a new chapter in the fascinating history of McNeill’s Cottage.