The Vulcan Hotel, built in 1882, is the jewel in the crown in tiny little St Bathans. We visited on a hot Central Otago day to find customers sitting comfortably outside the hotel as they sipped their drinks. And there were even more across the road sitting at picnic tables on the grassy “Beer Garden”.
The Vulcan Hotel
Although we had visited the old pub about six years ago, a return visit was necessary, this time clutching our “Great Kiwi Pub Crawl” book. With refreshments ordered (beer for him and Devonshire coffee for her) owner Jude Kavangh happily signed the book. The bar is tiny, at about only 6ft deep, so just as well there were only a couple of us waiting to be served.
The tiny bar with our book on the counter
Bar seating and Pool Table
Taking our refreshments into the dining room, we chatted to a young Mum and her daughter who had traveled up from the family crib (bach) at Arrowtown to give her daughter a taste of St Bathans. The walls of the dining room, like the bar, were covered in old photos and paintings.
Photos and paintings cover the walls.
Room 1 at The Vulcan is said to be haunted by the spirit of a young woman known as Rose, who was strangled to death in the hotel in the 1880s, and allegedly still appears from time to time. Over the years, Rose has been seen and felt by staff members and guests alike at the hotel. Luckily we saw no sign of Rose on our visit.
Afternoon Tea in the Vulcan Hotel
The Vulcan Hotel is a real Kiwi icon, and the last surviving pub of about twelve pubs which flourished here in the heady days of the local gold rush.