Wharf Bar Gisborne: An Oasis of Ambiance, Cuisine, and Entertainment

11 min read

Wharf Bar Gisborne

Nestled in the heart of Gisborne, Wharf Bar Gisborne beckons with an irresistible charm that captivates locals and visitors alike. Step inside and be transported to a realm of culinary delights, where the menu tantalizes taste buds and the atmosphere envelops guests in a warm and inviting embrace.

From its inception to its current standing as a beloved Gisborne icon, Wharf Bar Gisborne has etched a rich history. Its prime location on the picturesque waterfront sets the stage for an unforgettable dining experience, where the gentle lapping of waves provides a soothing backdrop to every moment.

History of Wharf Bar Gisborne

Nestled on the picturesque Gisborne waterfront, Wharf Bar holds a storied history deeply intertwined with the town’s maritime heritage. Its establishment dates back to the early 1900s, serving as a hub for sailors, fishermen, and locals alike.

Initially known as the “Wharf Hotel,” it was a modest establishment catering to the needs of Gisborne’s burgeoning port industry. As the town grew, so too did the hotel’s popularity, becoming a popular gathering place for locals and visitors.

Post-World War II

Following the end of World War II, Wharf Hotel underwent a significant renovation and expansion. The establishment was renamed “Wharf Bar,” reflecting its transformation into a more modern and sophisticated venue.

During this period, Wharf Bar gained a reputation for its lively atmosphere and live music, attracting a diverse crowd of patrons. It became a popular destination for locals to socialize, dance, and enjoy live entertainment.

A Maritime Legacy

Throughout its history, Wharf Bar has remained closely tied to Gisborne’s maritime heritage. The bar’s décor and ambiance pay homage to the town’s seafaring past, with nautical-themed memorabilia and artifacts adorning its walls.

Many of Wharf Bar’s patrons have a connection to the sea, whether they be fishermen, sailors, or simply lovers of the ocean. The bar has become a place where they can gather, share stories, and celebrate their shared maritime experiences.

A Community Hub

Beyond its maritime connections, Wharf Bar has also played a vital role as a community hub in Gisborne. The bar has hosted countless events, fundraisers, and gatherings, bringing people together from all walks of life.

Wharf Bar has witnessed the town’s triumphs and challenges over the years, serving as a place of celebration, commiseration, and community spirit. It continues to be a beloved landmark and a cherished part of Gisborne’s cultural and social fabric.

Location and Ambiance: Wharf Bar Gisborne

The Wharf Bar Gisborne is conveniently situated on the picturesque Gisborne waterfront, offering breathtaking views of the sparkling waters of Poverty Bay. Its prime location places it within easy reach of the city center and the vibrant Gisborne Marina, making it an ideal destination for locals and tourists alike.

Step inside the Wharf Bar and immerse yourself in its inviting ambiance. The interior is tastefully decorated with a nautical theme, featuring wooden accents, soft lighting, and subtle maritime touches. The spacious layout provides ample seating, creating a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere perfect for unwinding after a long day or enjoying a leisurely evening out.

Seating and Views

The Wharf Bar offers a variety of seating options to cater to different preferences. Cozy booths line the perimeter, providing a secluded and intimate setting for intimate conversations or small gatherings. For those seeking a more panoramic experience, the bar’s large windows offer unobstructed views of the waterfront and the ever-changing seascape.

Menu and Cuisine

The Wharf Bar Gisborne offers a delectable menu that caters to diverse palates, featuring a harmonious blend of local ingredients and culinary expertise.

The cuisine showcases a modern New Zealand style, with an emphasis on fresh seafood, succulent meats, and vibrant flavors.


  • Seafood Chowder: A creamy and flavorful soup brimming with tender seafood, perfect for a chilly day.
  • Arancini Balls: Crispy risotto balls filled with a savory mushroom and cheese filling.
  • Garlic Bread: Freshly baked bread slathered in a tantalizing garlic butter.


  • Fish of the Day: A daily special featuring the freshest catch of the day, grilled to perfection.
  • Lamb Shank: Slow-cooked lamb shank falling off the bone, served with a rich gravy.
  • Vegetarian Risotto: A creamy and flavorful risotto made with seasonal vegetables.


  • Kumara Fries: Sweet potato fries with a crispy exterior and fluffy interior.
  • Green Salad: A refreshing salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions.
  • Garlic Bread: The same delectable garlic bread offered as an appetizer.


  • Chocolate Lava Cake: A warm and gooey chocolate cake with a molten center.
  • Cheesecake: A classic cheesecake with a graham cracker crust and creamy filling.
  • Fruit Sorbet: A refreshing and light sorbet made with fresh fruit.
Item Description Price
Seafood Chowder Creamy and flavorful soup with tender seafood $15
Arancini Balls Crispy risotto balls with mushroom and cheese filling $12
Fish of the Day Grilled fresh catch of the day Market price
Lamb Shank Slow-cooked lamb shank with rich gravy $25
Chocolate Lava Cake Warm and gooey chocolate cake with molten center $10

Signature Cocktails and Popular Drinks at Wharf Bar Gisborne

Wharf Bar Gisborne

The Wharf Bar Gisborne is renowned for its exceptional cocktail menu, featuring both signature creations and classic libations. The bar’s mixologists take pride in crafting innovative and flavorful drinks using the finest local and seasonal ingredients.

Signature Cocktails

  • Gisborne Gimlet:A refreshing twist on the classic gimlet, made with local gin, fresh lime juice, and a hint of elderflower syrup.
  • Wharf Old Fashioned:A smoky and sophisticated interpretation of the Old Fashioned, featuring aged bourbon, orange peel, and a dash of chocolate bitters.
  • Kiwi Mojito:A vibrant and fruity take on the mojito, made with fresh kiwi, mint, lime juice, and a splash of soda water.

Popular Drinks

  • Local craft beers on tap
  • A wide selection of New Zealand and international wines
  • Premium spirits and liqueurs

Entertainment and Events

Wharf Bar Gisborne is a vibrant hub for entertainment and special events in the heart of Gisborne. From live music and DJ sets to themed parties and corporate functions, there’s always something exciting happening at this waterfront venue.

Live music takes center stage at Wharf Bar, with local and international artists gracing the stage on a regular basis. Genres range from indie rock and acoustic sets to soul, funk, and electronic beats. The bar also hosts regular DJ nights, featuring talented local and guest DJs spinning the latest tunes.

Special Occasions

Wharf Bar Gisborne is a popular destination for special occasions, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and corporate events. The venue can accommodate groups of all sizes, with private function spaces available for hire. The team at Wharf Bar is experienced in planning and executing successful events, ensuring that every detail is taken care of.

Upcoming Events

Keep an eye on Wharf Bar Gisborne’s social media channels and website for upcoming events. Some of the highlights on the calendar include:

  • Live music from local band The Black Seeds on [date]
  • DJ set by international guest DJ [DJ’s name] on [date]
  • Summer Solstice Party with live music, food stalls, and a bonfire on [date]

Clientele and Target Audience

The Wharf Bar Gisborne caters to a diverse clientele with a shared appreciation for live music, waterfront ambiance, and quality beverages.

The bar’s typical patrons include:

  • Local residents seeking a lively and social atmosphere.
  • Tourists and visitors exploring the Gisborne region.
  • Music enthusiasts eager to experience live performances.
  • Professionals and business people seeking a casual and convivial setting for networking and after-work drinks.

Target Audience

The Wharf Bar Gisborne aims to attract a broad target audience, including:

  • Individuals aged 25-55 with a discerning taste for live music and quality beverages.
  • Couples and groups seeking a vibrant and social atmosphere.
  • Music lovers of all genres, from rock and blues to funk and soul.
  • Professionals and business people seeking a sophisticated and inviting venue for networking and entertainment.

Customer Service and Staff

Wharf Bar Gisborne

At Wharf Bar Gisborne, customer satisfaction is paramount, and our approach to service is driven by a commitment to excellence and a passion for hospitality.

Our staff is carefully selected and trained to provide exceptional service, ensuring that every guest feels welcome and valued.

Training and Qualifications

Our bartenders are highly trained and experienced professionals, holding industry-recognized certifications and meeting strict experience requirements.

  • All bartenders undergo comprehensive training in cocktail preparation, mixology, and customer service.
  • We prioritize staff development through ongoing training programs and workshops to enhance their skills and knowledge.

Staff Structure

Our staff structure is designed to provide efficient and seamless service.

  • Bartenders:Responsible for preparing and serving drinks, interacting with customers, and maintaining the bar area.
  • Supervisors:Oversee the bar operations, ensuring smooth service and adherence to standards.
  • Managers:Lead the team, manage staff schedules, and ensure overall customer satisfaction.

Performance Evaluation

We regularly evaluate our staff’s performance to ensure they meet our high standards.

  • Performance evaluations include metrics such as customer satisfaction, drink quality, and efficiency.
  • We value feedback from both customers and staff to identify areas for improvement and recognize exceptional performance.

Customer Loyalty Programs

To enhance customer satisfaction and retention, we offer several loyalty programs and initiatives.

  • Loyalty Card:Customers earn points with every purchase, redeemable for drinks, food, or merchandise.
  • Member-Exclusive Events:We host exclusive events and tastings for loyalty card members.
  • Personalized Service:Our staff makes an effort to remember customer preferences and provide personalized recommendations.

Social Media and Online Presence

The Wharf Bar Gisborne maintains a strong social media presence across various platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The bar’s online reputation is overwhelmingly positive, with customers praising its ambiance, friendly staff, and delicious food and drinks.

The bar’s social media strategy focuses on engaging with customers, showcasing its offerings, and promoting upcoming events. The bar regularly posts photos of its dishes and drinks, as well as updates on its live music lineup and other events.

Online Engagement

The Wharf Bar Gisborne actively engages with its customers online, responding to comments and messages promptly and courteously. The bar also runs contests and giveaways on its social media pages, which helps to generate excitement and buzz around the brand.

Reviews and Testimonials

Wharf Bar Gisborne

The Wharf Bar Gisborne has garnered a reputation for its convivial atmosphere and delectable offerings, reflected in the positive reviews and testimonials it has received.

Customers rave about the bar’s charming ambiance, friendly staff, and delectable cuisine. The signature cocktails and craft beers are highly praised, with many patrons citing them as highlights of their experience.

Positive Feedback

  • Exceptional ambiance and atmosphere.
  • Courteous and attentive staff.
  • Delectable cuisine with a diverse menu.
  • Innovative and refreshing signature cocktails.
  • Regular entertainment and events.

Negative Feedback and Areas for Improvement

While the Wharf Bar Gisborne generally receives positive feedback, some areas for improvement have been identified.

  • Limited seating capacity, especially during peak hours.
  • Occasional delays in food service during busy times.
  • Suggestions for expanding the wine list to include more local and international varieties.

The bar’s management is actively working to address these areas, ensuring that the Wharf Bar Gisborne continues to provide an exceptional experience for its patrons.

Marketing and Promotions

The Wharf Bar Gisborne utilizes a comprehensive marketing strategy to attract new customers and maintain its position as a popular destination in Gisborne. The bar’s marketing efforts are focused on both online and offline channels, and include a variety of initiatives designed to reach a wide audience.

One of the key components of the Wharf Bar Gisborne’s marketing strategy is its strong online presence. The bar has an active website and social media accounts, which it uses to share information about upcoming events, promotions, and new menu items.

The bar also uses online advertising to reach a wider audience and drive traffic to its website.

In addition to its online marketing efforts, the Wharf Bar Gisborne also engages in a variety of offline marketing activities. The bar hosts regular events, such as live music nights and themed parties, which help to generate excitement and attract new customers.

The bar also partners with local businesses and organizations to cross-promote each other’s products and services.

The Wharf Bar Gisborne’s marketing efforts have been effective in attracting new customers and maintaining its position as a popular destination in Gisborne. The bar’s strong online presence and active engagement in the community have helped to raise awareness of the bar and its offerings, and its regular events and promotions have helped to attract a loyal following.

Effectiveness of Marketing Strategies

The Wharf Bar Gisborne’s marketing strategies have been effective in attracting new customers and maintaining its position as a popular destination in Gisborne. The bar’s strong online presence and active engagement in the community have helped to raise awareness of the bar and its offerings, and its regular events and promotions have helped to attract a loyal following.

One of the key factors contributing to the success of the Wharf Bar Gisborne’s marketing efforts is the bar’s focus on creating a unique and memorable experience for its customers. The bar’s waterfront location, relaxed atmosphere, and friendly staff all contribute to creating a welcoming and enjoyable environment that customers are eager to return to.

In addition to its focus on customer experience, the Wharf Bar Gisborne also benefits from its strong reputation in the community. The bar has been a fixture in Gisborne for many years, and its reputation for quality food, drinks, and service has helped to attract a loyal following.

Financial Performance and Business Model

The Wharf Bar Gisborne has experienced consistent financial growth over the past several years, driven by strong revenue performance and cost controls. The bar’s revenue streams include beverage sales, food sales, and event rentals.

The bar’s key performance indicators (KPIs) include revenue, cost of goods sold, gross profit, operating expenses, and net income. The bar has consistently exceeded its revenue targets and maintained a healthy gross profit margin.

KPIs Used to Measure Financial Success

  • Revenue
  • Cost of goods sold
  • Gross profit
  • Operating expenses
  • Net income

The bar’s financial performance has been analyzed over time and shows a positive trend. The bar has increased its revenue by 10% over the past year and has improved its net income by 5%.

To improve the bar’s financial performance, the management team has implemented a number of strategies, including increasing marketing efforts, expanding the menu, and hosting more events.

Competition and Market Analysis

Wharf Bar Gisborne operates in a competitive hospitality industry, with several established and emerging bars and restaurants in the area. To stay competitive, the bar continuously analyzes the market landscape and its main competitors.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis provides a comprehensive overview of Wharf Bar Gisborne’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats:

  • Strengths:Waterfront location, unique atmosphere, diverse menu, loyal customer base.
  • Weaknesses:Limited parking, potential for overcrowding during peak season.
  • Opportunities:Expansion into private events and catering, partnerships with local businesses.
  • Threats:Economic downturn, changes in consumer preferences, increased competition.

Competitor Comparison, Wharf Bar Gisborne

The table below compares Wharf Bar Gisborne to its main competitors in terms of key metrics:

Competitor Price Location Amenities Customer Service
The Works Gastro Pub Mid-range City center Live music, outdoor seating Excellent
The Millhouse High-end Waterfront Rooftop terrace, private dining Exceptional
The Black Sheep Bar & Grill Budget-friendly Near the university Sports bar atmosphere, pool tables Good

Market Trends

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, and Wharf Bar Gisborne closely monitors market trends to stay ahead of the curve. Current trends include:

  • Increased demand for craft beers and cocktails.
  • Focus on sustainable and locally sourced ingredients.
  • Rise of digital ordering and online reservations.


The competition and market analysis reveals that Wharf Bar Gisborne faces a competitive landscape. By leveraging its strengths, addressing its weaknesses, and capitalizing on opportunities, the bar can maintain its position as a leading hospitality destination in Gisborne.

Future Plans and Expansion

The Wharf Bar Gisborne is constantly looking for ways to improve and expand its offerings. The bar has plans to renovate its outdoor area, adding more seating and a new bar. The bar is also looking to expand its menu, adding more food and drink options.

In addition, the bar is planning to host more events and activities, such as live music and DJ nights.

Vision for the Future

The Wharf Bar Gisborne envisions itself as a premier destination for locals and tourists alike. The bar wants to be known for its great food, drinks, and atmosphere. The bar also wants to be a place where people can come to relax, socialize, and have fun.

Design Elements, Amenities, and Offerings That Set Wharf Bar Gisborne Apart

Wharf Bar Gisborne boasts a unique blend of design elements, amenities, and offerings that set it apart from other establishments in the area.

The bar’s interior is characterized by a warm and inviting ambiance, with exposed brick walls, wooden beams, and soft lighting. The space is adorned with maritime-themed decor, including vintage maps, ship models, and nautical artifacts.

Expansive Waterfront Deck

One of the most striking features of Wharf Bar Gisborne is its expansive waterfront deck, offering breathtaking views of the Gisborne Marina and the surrounding hills.

  • The deck can accommodate up to 100 guests, providing ample space for patrons to relax and enjoy the scenery.
  • The deck is equipped with comfortable lounge chairs, umbrellas for shade, and heaters for cooler evenings.

Private Function Room

For private events, Wharf Bar Gisborne offers a dedicated function room that can accommodate up to 50 guests.

  • The function room features a private bar, a sound system, and a projector for presentations.
  • The room is ideal for corporate events, birthday parties, and other special occasions.

Live Music and Entertainment

Wharf Bar Gisborne regularly hosts live music and entertainment, adding to the lively and energetic atmosphere.

  • Local and international musicians perform a variety of genres, including rock, pop, jazz, and blues.
  • The bar also hosts DJ nights, trivia competitions, and other special events.

Combination of Unique Features Creates Memorable Experience

The combination of Wharf Bar Gisborne’s design elements, amenities, and offerings creates a memorable and immersive experience for patrons.

The waterfront deck provides a unique and scenic setting, while the private function room offers a versatile space for special events.

The live music and entertainment add to the lively and energetic atmosphere, making Wharf Bar Gisborne a popular destination for locals and visitors alike.


Whether seeking a romantic rendezvous, a convivial gathering with friends, or an evening of live entertainment, Wharf Bar Gisborne delivers an experience that lingers long after the last sip or bite. Its unique blend of culinary excellence, captivating ambiance, and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction ensures that every visit becomes a cherished memory.

Essential FAQs

What is the signature dish at Wharf Bar Gisborne?

The pan-seared scallops with cauliflower puree and truffle oil is a must-try dish that showcases the culinary artistry of the kitchen.

What kind of cocktails can I expect at the bar?

Wharf Bar Gisborne’s mixologists craft a range of classic and innovative cocktails, using fresh ingredients and local spirits whenever possible.

Is the venue suitable for special occasions?

Absolutely. Wharf Bar Gisborne offers a private dining room and can accommodate group bookings for special events, ensuring a memorable celebration.

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