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Local character – the man behind the bar at the Sprig & Fern Hardy Street.

Local character – the man behind the bar at the Sprig & Fern Hardy Street.

The Sprig & Fern has earned the status of ‘local icon’ and is one of those places you just have to experience if you are visiting the region.

The building was originally built in the 1930’s and is one of only 4 in the city that have the classic design with the upstairs sunroom – verandah overlooking the street. During the lockdown the builders have been busy completing tasks related to earthquake strengthening so it’s going to be around for many years to come.

Featuring a range of great beers, regular live music and all sorts of local get togethers it feels like a major component to Nelsons incredible lifestyle. Speaking of local – there’s a pretty special local behind the bar. His name is Lee Fern.

Born in the UK in the city of Leicester, Lee arrived in New Zealand in 1991. Formerly he worked as a sign-writer before entering the world of being a gigging musician. Lee still plays gigs with his band mates and became the owner of the Sprig & Fern on Hardy St in 2011 after managing it for a year.

I can imagine Lee has heard lots of stories in his day, from working behind a bar to pub gigs I bet he’s heard it all! – and more… Lee is actually working on a book which will share some of hilarious tales, so keep an eye out.

“Writing down your experiences is a great way to process it, share with others and enjoy it again for the second time.” says Lee with a big grin on his face.

When Lee arrived in Nelson he enjoyed a unique hobby which involved rehabilitating injured Hawks and NZ Falcons.

“Often baby falcons leave the nest and come to the city in search of food. The most common injury is crashing into glass windows.”

Lee is the kind of guy who lives life in the moment and loves our region. The Sprig & Fern Scotch Ale just won a top 30 award at the New World NZ Beer & Cider awards. It was selected in the shortlist and on Friday June 26 4 – 7pm Radio Hauraki personality Thane Kirby will be present the drive time show live from the bar.

To learn more about the Sprig & Fern visit their website or even better pay them a visit.

They also do great food so make a date and support your local.

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