About No.1 The Strand
By day, the lower floor and conservatory is reception and function area for Sun Media. By night, the venue transforms into No.1 The Strand Bar and Restaurant: "The Best Bar under the Sun." Currently it opens Fridays from 5pm, with private functions at any time by arrangement.
The owners strive to preserve the unique heritage aspects of the old Bonded Store and by re-developing the formerly abandoned restaurant and bar, have opened this lovely and rare historic building for the full enjoyment of the public. The owners or staff are often available to offer a quick guided tour upstairs. The owners request that no heels are worn on the stairs or the upper kauri floorboards, to help protect the timbers.
The building was constructed for James Alexander Mann in 1883 as a warehouse for cargo transiting the adjacent wharves, where the road reclamation is nowadays. Mann was the first licenced collector of tax for such goods, holding the "Bond" for receiving overseas goods and collecting the revenue for the Government. Hence the title "bond store."
Later it became the home of Guinness Bros, who were based at No.1 from 1908 for many decades as a retail store selling items as diverse as liquor, to farm equipment, appliances and bulk commodities.
The solid brick construction and huge Kauri beams were designed to carry the great loads of cargo on both floors. The bars on the windows allowed air to circulate, but prevented the locals helping themselves to the goods before the tax was paid!
The beautiful red bricks are held with mortar made from the sand off the beach, mixed on site.
The 1 ½ inch kauri floor boards are fixed with three-inch, tapered square iron nails and the boards joined with a steel strap, or biscuit, in a recess running the length of each board.
One of the most unique features of the building is the brick work over the doorways and windows, rare examples of simple but masterful workmanship. While there are many examples of ornate architecture of this era, few "warehouse style" examples remain. "Unpretentious" is how one historian describes it.