New bar a happy reminder

THE New Year's Eve party at the Spinnaker Bar and Restaurant had one main theme on Saturday night - rack off 2011, and bring on 2012.

After a "horrendous" year, restaurant owner Brett Jensen said he was very much looking forward to a new beginning.

"We've been doing long, long hours and we've basically worked the past 12 months for free to pay the flood debt," Mr Jensen said.

The popular venue faced the full wrath of the swollen Burnett River during the Christmas floods, with water swallowing the downstairs bar.

It was a devastating blow for Mr Jensen, who had finished renovating the restaurant and bar just nine months earlier.

"During the first renovation, we only had to deal with the project, but when the floods hit we had to keep the upstairs restaurant operating to help pay for the repairs. So we were renovating downstairs and running the business upstairs," he said.

"It was a very busy time."

But Mr Jensen said the community threw plenty of support his way.

"The amount of support we had was phenomenal," he said.

"Even to this day we get locals saying they specifically came in to help us out and we get tourists who say they saw us in the news so they wanted to come in."

And if the floods weren't enough, the restaurant has also suffered a few more blows, thanks to thieves.

"We had looters come in during the floods," he said.

"And more recently we've had two break-ins and an attempted break-in."

But it wasn't all bad in the wake of the floods, the upbeat restaurateur pointed out.

"Although it was quite a stressful and emotional time, I have some good memories from it," Mr Jensen said.

"Like having a hot beer in the bar with water up to our waists."

Mr Jensen said the flood had left its mark on the venue, with the downstairs bar renamed the Flood Bar and featuring images from the disaster on the walls.

"We're going to come into the new year fresh and fighting fit," he said.

"This past year was a hard one for a lot of businesses, so hopefully 2012 will bring some light at the end of the tunnel."

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