The Crab Shack restaurant in Wellington dining room design with bar in background

The Crab Shack

Occupying one of the oldest heritage wharf stores on Wellington’s waterfront, The Crab Shack combines a seaside culinary theme with an industrial look. Headed by renowned New Zealand chef Simon Gault the restaurant specialises in seafood, with an emphasis on crab.

Studio Design + Architecture designers worked with Nourish Group, the client, to craft a coastal/Cape Cod-style dining experience, creating the atmosphere of a seaside shanty. With the sea breeze entering through large custom timber sliding doors, the space opens on to a terrace so patrons can enjoy the atmosphere both inside and out.

Customised lighting with cane craypots, nets, and loose bulbs hang by rope from the wharf’s existing timber rafters. Reused weatherboards with original paint finishes in multiple colours line the walls, while old crates act as shelves for tableware and old fishing paraphernalia. Custom furniture and joinery throughout add to the industrial feel with rough-sawn timber tabletops, steel shelving and distressed steel stool and chair frames. To finish, nautical maps of Wellington were hand-stained by the designers and fixed to the walls to give an aged look

The Crab Shack restaurant in Wellington with customers in the dining room at night
The Crab Shack restaurant in Wellington booth seating with rustic wooden base and cray pot light fittings
The Crab Shack restaurant in Wellington with customers in the dining room at night

Creating the atmosphere of a seaside shanty

The Crab Shack links visually with the adjoining Shed 5 restaurant, also designed for the Nourish Group by Studio Design + Architecture. This was achieved by melding the vertical distressed weatherboards with the dark timber of the more sophisticated look of SHED 5 next door. The neutral ropes of The Crab Shack also transition into the refined rope wall-covering of SHED 5 to connect both restaurants over the length of the wharf.

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