Rosie’s Bar and Restaurant on St Helena welcomed over 450 guests on Friday night, 8 December 2017, for a sparkling Grand Opening event, with owner and first-time entrepreneur Rosemary Bargo, known to all as Rosie, realising a dream that began over 14 years ago.
The New Place To Be At Sunset On St Helena | Darrin Henry
The brand new two-storey building at the top of Ladder Hill and the bottom of Half Tree Hollow, overlooks the vast South Atlantic and glows orange in the evenings as the sun dips into to the sea. It’s a great place to see one of the wonderful St Helena sunsets.
For current opening times and events at Rosie’s, download the free Inside St Helena information App.
…Then Life Happens!
On the ground floor of Rosie’s Bar and Restaurant is the 60-seater dining area and kitchen. On top is the spacious Lounge Bar opening onto a wide promenade of a veranda where customers will be able to chill with cocktails while trying to spot the green flash at sunset. The whole place can be configured to accommodate up to 530 people.
“Since 2003 when I returned to the island I knew I wanted to do something like this,” said Rosie, “a bar and pizza type place was what I had in mind. I felt the island needed a facility like this as options were quite limited at the time. But you know, then life happens! You get kind of side-tracked, but it was always on my mind.”
“It was a worrying time”
About seven years ago Rosie decided it was time to make the project happen. “I got serious,” she told me.
“For me, the most challenging part was going into a business where I didn’t have the experience.”
Six and a half years were lost in procedure as Rosie battled to overcome the challenges of securing land, planning approvals and all the other tedious regulation boxes that needed to be ticked on a project this size.
Rosie’s career to date has always been in finance, more recently as Manager of the Bank of St Helena. Not knowing both the building and entertainment/catering trade caused plenty of headaches. “It was a worrying time. I was scared about getting the right builder.”
Things changed after Rosie approached local building expert, Phillip John.
“I think Phillip took pity on me,” said Rosie, laughing at the memory, “he really helped with professional advice and direction. This then led to Johnny Isaac (Isaac’s Contractors) coming on board as the building contractor and that was it, he was absolutely the right builder who turned my dream into reality.”
Rosie’s Bar and Restaurant – The Inspiration
Actual construction on the site itself took exactly six months and two days, start to finish, that in itself an incredible achievement on St Helena.
Inspiration in the design and concept of Rosie’s Bar and Restaurant has come from Rosie’s life experiences, living and working on Ascension Island and the USA.
“I wanted a place that was open all the time, where people didn’t have to pre-book for a meal,” explained Rosie, “they could just turn up during the day, in the evenings or after work on their own terms and get good service.
“During my four years living in the States I took note of the customer service attitudes and wanted to bring that high level of service to my business.
“I know what I’m doing is very ambitious, but you know, I keep saying, ‘why not?’
“A lot of people have told me ‘you can’t do that,’ or they’ll say ‘it won’t work Rosie.’
“But I don’t believe a place like this can’t work here; why not? Why can’t we have a place that’s open seven days a week, all day long?”
Rosie also acknowledged that her plan is big and it might turn out she’ll have to scale back to meet the realities of operating. But she’s also fiercely determined to give it a good go.
Grand Opening of Rosie’s, An Amazing Night
“On the night I was overwhelmed by the response, even just that everyone showed up,” said Rosie afterwards. “At the same time I was worried, trying to coordinate all the little things in the background that no-one could see. I guess I’m now at the beginning of that steep learning curve!”
If Friday night’s opening event is anything to go by this project has as much chance of success as anything ever launched on St Helena. It’s an establishment that’s effortlessly classy and inviting.
The atmosphere in Rosie’s Lounge Bar was electric. The venue was brand new yet it immediately felt familiar and welcoming. Rosie herself is a St Helenian well known for her glamour, her infectious sense of fun, energy and friendliness, and somehow she has woven these aspects of her character into the building itself.
From the first moment the place came alive with excited chatter, the bartenders were kept busy and the dance floor filled with smiling faces eager to enjoy a historic night.
The atmosphere was incredible.
As Saints we are immensely proud of Rosie and what she has achieved and just like the many, many people I’ve spoken to since Friday night, one of our own who’s really done good. We wish Rosie’s Bar and Restaurant the very, very best for a prosperous and happy future.
Here are a few pictures from that wonderful Grand Opening night.
Rosie’s has made our list of top things to do on St Helena. Click Here to view the full listing.
restaurant d’une qualité exceptionnelle que nous avons récemment découvert à l’occasion d’un voyage organisé par pascal laparlière (Sainte-Hélène voyage). installés en terrasse, dominant la baie de jamestown, nous avons été accueillis par la charmante rosie. j’ai pris un thon absolument délicieux, cuit à point ; tous les convives ont étés enchantés. c’est vraiment une étape à recommander.
excellent write up and good exposure and beautiful detailed pictures. Well done and congratulations to Rosie, the ideal location and beauty look adds a stunning flavour to the Ladder Hill Park. I wish her sincere successfulness in growth for her Business, friendliness and a enjoyable venue for everyone. CONGRATULIONS.
A fantastic grand opening, ROSIE’s bar and restaurant will undoubtedly be a SUCCESS on the island. For a few moments there I felt as if I wasn’t on the island. Looking forward to some downtime and good food at her place. Great write up guys and AWESOME footage once again.
Know what you mean Cecil, we were all transported away that night. Brilliant memories.
The “Nightshift” performance was pretty awesome too 🙂
Will be lovely to see how Rosie’s develops its style and character over the coming months/years.
Thanks for the comment, cheers 🙂
A lovely good news story from the island! Best wishes to Rosie – she deserves all success for her bold IDEA. I hope she Proves the truth of the saying ‘Build it and they will COME’.
Thanks for the comment Chris – yes, agreed, best wishes to Rosie.
I think Rosie’s place will be hard to resist for us all 🙂
Thank you Darrin and Sharon for the wonderful coverage of my opening, the pictures are amazing, I know a lot of people has ask me to post on FB, I believe they will be very happy to see what you have captured of my place. Again thank you so much…
You’ve done something wonderful at Ladder Hill, we are very proud of you. It was a pleasure taking pictures that night, the atmosphere was so good. Good luck and keep that lovely smile going, it’s a great welcome for people coming through the door.
whow…. Electric… looking at these beautiful pics taken by the amazing Darrin. what a night, I didn’t had much time to get into the swing of things as was working behind the scenes but you could feel it and would love a replay… rosie looks beautiful and proud in these pics, you would never say she was doing the final bits and pieces up to the last. wish this lady huge success in her wonderful business x thanks for the beautiful pictures Darrin and Sharon x
Hey Debs, thanks always for the support and kind comments. You all did a super job on opening night – don’t worry if you missed out by working, it was thoroughly appreciated by everyone there. Perfect launch night.
Yes, wishing Rosie every success!