Coene’s Bar and Eatery

Pictures on the wall tell the history of the building

Pictures on the wall tell the history of the building

A happy recent addition to the Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club building is Coene's Café and Bar on the first floor. The name of this establishment pays homage to the history of the venue, as can be seen in the wonderful photos on the walls which bring a special flavour to the Bar and Eatery.

Commander Edgar J Coene led American naval troops based in Wellington at this site during World War II. His job was to direct troops in the South Pacific. The neighbouring boat sheds are also named for him.

The tribute in the restaurant reads "Lt Commander Edgar J Coene, USNR, now stationed in a South Pacific Base, has been made a full Commander. He is the officer in charge of the Amphibious Boat Pool, US Advanced Naval Base. 
While stationed in Wellington, New Zealand, he had a wonderful success in the organization of the boat pools in that base and received the following citation in orders from Admiral Halsey: 'Having personal knowledge of the difficulties and obstacles involved in this undertaking, it is considered that special credit is due to the officer in charge, Lt Commander Edgar J Coene, for his industry, initiative, and creative ability.' Mr and Mrs Coene made their home in High Street.

Bar stools are said to have been adapted from metal US Navy chairs, so shorties like me have to dangle their legs. And the fact that this is a yachting cafe is emphasised by an orange line painted through the room. This marks where the starting line for races runs out into the harbour.

As part of the club's campaign to emphasise that yachting is not an elitist sport, this cafe offers a wide range of dishes at varying prices, including sharing-style plates. It replaces the high-end restaurant run here for 13 years by award-winning chef, Martin Bosley.

— Bay View newsletter 70, November 2017