After weeks of seated drinking, capacity caps and cancelled gigs, Wellingtonians can put on their dancing shoes and get ready to cut loose as the city enters its first weekend at the orange alert.
Since midnight on Thursday Wellington has no capacity caps on venues using vaccine passes, and patrons no longer need to sit down to drink. But most important for Meow co-owner Rahine O’Rielly – dancing is back.
O’Rielly told the Herald Meow will host a celebration of all things orange today to welcome in the new rules.
Orange Party Friday 🧡🍊🧡 bring your vaccine pass and come and dance #orangeparty
Posted by Meow on Monday, November 29, 2021
“There’ll be drink specials – orange drinks mostly so things like mimosas, Parrotdog’s Birdseye Hazy because it looks lovely and orange in a glass and we’re encouraging people to wear orange too.”
There’ll be DJs – and even some of Meow’s staff will step up to the plate.
“In the last lockdown, level 2, some of our staff were already DJs, others wanted to try it out so they’ll be playing.”
Vaccine passes will be checked and verified at the door, which means patrons can feel safe knowing everyone inside is fully vaxxed.
“People miss dancing, they miss standing up and drinking beer. And we miss our customers,” she said.
Meow will open its doors at 5pm to fully vaccinated customers, with $5 entry from 9pm and $10 after 10pm.
It’s not the only club gearing up for a huge weekend – Club 121 on Cambridge Tce will reopen with a bang today with 121 Soundsystem and Eden Burns, and on Cuba St, San Fran will host Poneke punk favourites DARTZ and DOONS for its first full-capacity gig since the lockdown.
Further up Cuba St and further into the weekend Laundry Bar is holding Future Funk tomorrow – a night of “lush, smokin DnB”.
All clubs opening will be for fully vaccinated patrons only.
We're doing what we can to keep on rolling, to keep on bringing you the weekend late night action and banging…
Posted by Laundry Cuba Street on Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Hoff’s Hospitality group owner Matt McLaughlin told the Herald the weekend is looking “really exciting”.
“We’re a bit nervous but so excited to welcome back our customers – to be able to chat to them and smile at them, it’s going to be really good.”
He said the nerves are stemming from managing the vaccine passes, and how it will work in practice – recruiting staff has been difficult and having to scan customers could add pressure to already stretched staff on what he says is traditionally the busiest weekend of the year.
None of his bars had special events planned, but he said he was thrilled to be back to a sense of normalcy.
It’s a sentiment backed by Sarah Bolton, the director of Red Square. She says while she’s excited there’s “a wee bit” of anxiety over how it will all go.
“[Mandates] just add to checking IDs, checking passports as well – it’s just part of what we’ve gotta do but I’d rather it was that way to protect our staff and protect ourselves.”