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Carterton entrepreneurs flourish

Owner Kylie Mole pulls a pint at her new restaurant and bar in Carterton. PHOTO/CHELSEA BOYLE

By Chelsea Boyle

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Carterton’s newest restaurant and bar has proven to be a hit, drawing in people from across Wairarapa with not a spare seat in sight during the busiest nights.

Balter Bar & Kitchen owners Kylie and Simon Mole turned a 120-year-old bookshop on High St into a modern restaurant in a matter of months.

The pair toiled away on the renovations together, embodying the Kiwi DIY spirit, and spent two weeks alone polishing the floors themselves.

Kylie Mole and her husband Simon are the entrepreneurs behind Balter Bar & Kitchen. PHOTO/SUPPLIED
Kylie Mole and her husband Simon are the entrepreneurs behind Balter Bar & Kitchen. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

The finished product was a chic, versatile, and modern dining space.

“We make a great team,” Mrs Mole said.

“It’s exactly what I wanted to create.

“I love design. In another life, I would have liked to go down that avenue.”

All the furniture was second-hand, mostly found through garage sales and Trade Me, she said.

“We couldn’t afford to buy everything new. That’s not us anyway.

“Everything has a story, it’s worn and loved.”

It was a very tactile space, she said.

She said doing everything themselves had given them a huge amount of control over the final look.

“It’s been a really big learning-curve.”

It also meant Mrs Mole had to hit the books and study up for her bar manager’s licence.

When all their hard work was done they simply flung open the doors.

“We did a soft opening, but no advertising whatsoever.”

They hoped the welcoming atmosphere would draw people in to chill out for hours on end, even if it was only to grab a bowl of fries and a coffee.

For woman and children there is not a huge amount in Carterton, she said.

“There was a gap in the market,” she said.

With two young sons, Lucas and Ashton, the couple wanted the space to be safe for children but also double as a cool place to hang out for after work drinks.

“I had my family in mind,” she said.

“My youngest one is bit of an escape artist.”

But it was really all about the craft beers, New Zealand wines and sharing platters, she said.

They wanted it to be a place where people could try different beers and share nibbles, she said.

Carterton people needed it and wanted it, she said.

“They just needed to somebody to be brave… It was a big risk.”

“Everyone has backed us 100 per cent.

“People wanted to join us in our adventure.”

With 11 staff members, the pumping business is livening up Carterton’s CBD and has been well-received by people across Wairarapa.

“It’s been quite overwhelming, the amount of support we have had,” she said.

“I haven’t had time to catch my breath.”

Balter is open on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3pm, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am, and Sundays from 10am.

Bookings are essential on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.


  1. I’ve really enjoyed working with Kylie and Simon to set up their website for the business. They are super friendly people and that is carried across in the service that the staff deliver. Balter is the perfect spot for friends and family, business meetings or just killing an hour in comfort. A great new restaurant backed up with an AWESOME selection of craft beers! With Balter, Regent 58, Peak Brewery and Beg, Borrow, Brew, Carterton is really turning into a Craft Beer place to be!

  2. Great place to spend a while, looking forward to spending an hour or so tomorrow night, little bit of food and wine ? Dave

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