Brewery Breathes New Life Into Whangaparaoa

If you thought Whangaparoa was a tad on the dull side when it comes to entertainment, you’d probably not be alone. Things are set to change, and big time, with the introduction of a live events venue, Asian Fusion restaurant and a variety of craft and exotic drinks at Paráoa Brewing Co, bringing the best of all three and more as a social house to the Hibiscus Coast.

The brainchild of seasoned businessman Zenice Gujarathi, fondly known as ‘Zen’, Paráoa Brewing Co directly meets a need identified by the MBA-qualified and former law student. He is also behind the Sportscave indoor sports arena in the vicinity, “we are all about locals and community,” he said.

“The thing with our area is that we have so many people living on the peninsula, and yet nothing to do. Especially after the isolation of COVID, we know people want to get off the sofa, get out there, come together as a community and have a good old time. That’s why we call ourselves a social house, and that’s why we have something for everyone.”

Something indeed, with top local bands and comedy acts already booked with the likes of The Recliner Rockers, the Jordan Luck Band, The Dirty Happys, Brian Smith Quintet, The Buskers and The AGM Band. What’s more, attendance at some of the shows is completely free of charge.

Renowned chef Cameron Knox has created a unique culinary experience for the venue, drawing on his experience opening Asian fusion restaurants including TOK TOK and Mekong Baby to create bistro food with an Eastern twist. Knox brought on mixologist Jeremy Nivern, an award-winning name in the cocktail industry for the creation of unique beverages.

The venue also offers customers some of New Zealand’s best award-winning wines. Proud supplier of Paráoa Brewing Co, Matakana Estate, has teamed up with the venue launch to lift the occasion with delightful bubbles, its Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Matakana Estate is a boutique winery located in the heart of the Matakana Coast region and wine from the Estate is available only from select local establishments and their cellar door.

Top Kiwi talent Capital Theatre is preparing to release of a new album later this year, so lucky patrons may be among the first to enjoy the latest tracks from the up-and-coming rockers. And if dancing isn’t your thing, the venue also offers an impressive set of pool tables and dartboards, often utilised by the Whangaparaoa dart club.

Paraoa Brewing Co

Gujarathi, who has more than 12 years of experience in the retail liquor industry, said there’s even more to the Paráoa Brewing Co. Starting with the name. “So, by now you know we’ve chosen a name which reflects the area rather well, as Whanga means ‘bay’ and of course, Paráoa, whales,” he smiled.

“And then there’s the ‘Brewing Company’ part. Yes, we’re brewing our own beers – initially at a contract brewer in Silverdale, but with the dream of bringing it fully in-house. That means every patron can really get a taste of local goodness.”

With his business background, there’s plenty of ambition behind Paráoa Brewing Company. That ambition is reflected in the quality and attention to detail taken in putting together the venue and its attractions (comedy superstars like Dai Henwood and the Laugh Club don’t just appear as if by magic). And the décor and fitout represent a substantial investment in pursuit of the delivery of the ultimate social house.

Zen shares some behind-the-scenes insight on the journey to opening day – and yes, there were COVID headaches. “We bought the building in February 2020,” he laughed wryly – not great timing. “In March, COVID hit, and the renovation was almost three times more than budgeted. We are probably a bit crazy to make Paráoa Brewing Co what it is today, the post COVID aftermath where similar businesses are closing. But it only takes one crazy idea to make it a success. And I think everyone who visits will see that maybe we aren’t mad after all! Most importantly, as much as we want this place to be successful, the local community has risen to support us and wants Paraoa to succeed.”

There’s more to Paráoa Brewing Company than the initial local presence, too. Applying his business acumen and intent on creating a winning recipe which appeals to a wide range of guests, Zen already has plans underway to take the brand international. As a local himself, having lived in Whangaparaoa for more than a decade with his wife and two school-aged children, Zen is excited about delivering a premium experience for the community his family is a part of.

Paráoa is a multi-functional facility. It offers full concert venue sound and lights supplied by College Hill, a full kitchen and bar. With 750 sq. feet and a room capacity of 250 seated, it is the perfect venue for band showcases, music videos, awards ceremonies, and business events.

“Our house is your house. Come on down and visit us, a good time is guaranteed.”