Arden Bar and Kitchen tells us their story…
We are Lisa Penketh and Logan Ursell of ARDEN bar & kitchen…
This is a sort of story CV : a history of hospitality before we opened ARDEN together nearly a year ago!
Our professional background together began in 2000 at CHOW in Wellington, Logan worked the bar, I worked the floor. Unprofessionally, we became a couple.
Logan then moved to the cocktail bar next door, MOTEL as assistant manager.
I went to the MATTERHORN with the reopening crew in 2003. I ran the brunch shifts and Sunday night ‘pass the peas’.
In 2005 we moved to Melbourne. I worked in the only pizza joint in town to gain a hat, LADRO. Logan helped run MURMUR cocktail bar, which was awarded best new cocktail bar at the barshow awards a year in.
Later on we needed a hand at LADRO, so Logan and I got to work together again. He then went to GINGER, another award winner on Brunswick street. When that sadly closed he went to 1806, which won best cocktail list at New Orleans.
We finally got around to going to London to live, as we had intended to do ages ago….
It was pretty amazing, we were lucky to gain invaluable experience at top notch places. I worked in the east at a caberet/bistro : BISTROTHEQUE, and Logan at the Match group members bar THE EAST ROOM – which I later worked the floor. Logan then moved up the company bartender ranks to MILK AND HONEY, a members only cocktail bar which won best bar in the world three years running.
We returned to Melbourne after travelling through Italy, to help set up LADRO GREVILLE in the south together.
Logan went back to cocktails in the city after that, joining the crew at SEAMSTRESS who he had connected with through MILK AND HONEY and Match group training.
I joined the team that opened Andrew McConnell’s GOLDEN FIELDS. Very exciting times, amazing food and so much attention to design details. An excellent experience.
I then took on management roles at THE COMMONER, a British terrace restaurant with a wood grill and interest in foraging and pickling. And then ANADA, a small but popular Spanish restaurant , which was my biggest challenge as it was left to me to run as if my own.
Logan went with some of the guys from SEAMSTRESS to THE BEAUFORT. It was a very cool dive bar with a silly amount of talent making the drinks. It was awarded best party bar, I think by time out.
In keeping with that Logan then went to the LINCOLN, a historic Carlton pub, reimagined as a historic Carlton pub with amazing food, wine and in the running for best party bar the following year. This was probably Logan’s biggest challenge aside from MILK, there is so much on offer all of the time which created an amazing forward momentum for the business. It seemed like they were breaking records every week.
I took a much more relaxed turn – I started to put my pottery hobby into a business model. I took a waitressing job in the last two years in Melbourne at HELL OF THE NORTH so I could make pots and not give up on my clear need to work in a restaurant. HELL is a French inspired place that’s really truly Melbourne. I take a lot away from that job and those amazing people.
My pottery is now used in Melbourne at the Town Mouse, Green Park, Henry Sugar, Higher Ground, Charlie dumpling, Little Andora and Hell of the North… and now ARDEN in Nelson!
Since we both grew up here (and we have moved our cat and dog over from Australia) we are really ready to get to work on building something here; the product of our experience, this place and this time with the people in Nelson.