Tara Iti Golf Club in Te Arai, New Zealand, is taking alcohol mobile through its stylish “Baravan.”
Mobile eating, through the food truck trend, is gaining traction in the U.S. At Tara Iti Golf Club in Te Arai, New Zealand, the private club is taking alcohol mobile as well, through its stylish “Baravan,” which took home “Most Innovative Idea” honors from this year’s Idea Fair at the Club Managers Association of America conference in San Antonio. (C&RB will feature other entries from this year’s Fair in June, as part of its 9th Annual Ideas Issue.)
To create the Baravan, Tara Iti GC restored and retrofitted a vintage caravan (or RV, as most Americans call them), giving it a fully stocked, portable bar. It now makes the rounds to allow members to enjoy wine, cocktails, beer, and specialty beverages on the golf course, in the chef’s garden, on the beach, or even at a member’s home.
The Baravan cost approximately $40,000 to create—primarily, notes General Manager Matthew Guzik, CCM, because of the cost of using the same woods featured in the Tara Iti clubhouse: rimu and kauri (both evergreens that are endemic to New Zealand), and cedar.
On board, the Baravan is equipped with three refrigerators, an ice chest, and a full bar. While it is used primarily for bar service, Guzik says, it also sells protein bars and snacks on the golf course, and small hors d’oeuvres for events.
Thus far, the Baravan has been utilized at several functions, including a member’s carnival-themed birthday, an upscale outdoor evening dinner party, and a sit-down dinner.
“We’ve also used it on the golf course as a convenient drink station and snack bar for a golf tournament,” Guzik says. “It is mainly used for member events, but we also want to use it at community events, like the local farmers market.”
The Baravan is staffed with one bartender and one waitperson. Two surfboard and trellised tables can be placed around it, and surfboard-shaped chalkboards are used to advertise special cocktails or available foodservice, Guzik says.
One of the primary challenges of the Baravan, Guzik notes, is transporting it—a large tractor is used to move it, and foam and cushions are required to avoid any glass or bottle breakage inside. It also needs to be parked on level ground.
But the effort always proves worthwhile, because wherever it’s taken, Guzik says, members and guests flock to the mobile bar and enjoy the “classy-beach vibe” it creates for any event. “The members and guests have absolutely loved the Baravan,” Guzik reports. “And many of our international guests from the U.S. have said they are going to tell their club at home to get one.”