Not just students for new Captain Cook Hotel

The Captain Cook Hotel (Dave Goosselink/Newshub.)
The Captain Cook Hotel (Dave Goosselink/Newshub.)

One of the country's most famous pubs has been brought back to life.

Dunedin's Captain Cook Hotel is reopening to the public for the first time tonight, after a massive redevelopment project to save the iconic venue.

The popular student hangout closed its doors in June 2013 when the pub's lease ran out. Neither Cook Brothers Bars or DB were keen to continue operations, with revenue falling after changing drinking habits and a crackdown by Otago University on 'scarfie' culture.

It followed the closure of two other student bars -- The Gardies and The Bowler. Both were bought and shut down by the university, converted into facilities for the expanding institution.

But a new team decided to take on the challenge. The building was stripped, taking it back to the core of what the original pub was over 150 years ago. The aim was to restore it to an English-style pub, with a traditional horsehoe bar and corner entry.

The new Captain Cook Hotel is being described as a gastro pub, and will be opening for dinner from tonight. It has been transformed the pub from a basic look to a classy venue, with premium features and fittings including pressed tin ceilings.  An upstairs student venue catering to the late night and weekend crowds is due to open in mid-June.

The former gardens bar area was demolished earlier this year, and is also expected to be rebuilt as a food and beverage establishment.