The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

A couple of new(ish) bars

by Joanna on January 19, 2021 in Food & Drink

Hey, remember when we used to be on top of all the openings and closings in town and filled with reviews? Yeah me neither. The ‘ista is old and property-and-business owning now, and we have Twitter instead of our group mailing list. But we can still try!

So to that end, here’s a couple of bars I’ve been to lately that you might also like to know about.

Love Not Lost

From the makers of our beloved Hanging Ditch comes a bar in the Courtney Quarter that’s actually worth heading to that part of town for? Love Not Lost on Allan Street has been a million curry places and maybe also Muse and that truly truly awful Orpheus. Now it’s bar with a solid food menu, full of fancy cocktails and big comfy couches. It opened at the end of last year so the space doesn’t feel quite as lived in as I’m sure it will, but it’s nice to have a bar that prioritises lounging, along with a pool table and two-tops if you’re eating. When we visited a couple of weeks ago, the cocktail menu was Meatloaf (the singer) themed, so they missed a trick not offering a meatloaf burger as well, but what they had on offer was delicious. the menu of love not lost
Obviously I had to order a Dead Ringer For Love to get that pistachio-infused bourbon. I could have used a little more sweetness I think, but in their defense I’ve been drinking a lot of overly sweet drinks over summer. Apparently the ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ with its tequila, creme de menthe and caramel is a top seller. I love that despite the compactness of the wine list they offer two rosés, which is very smart for summer. My friend’s ‘Life is a Lemon’ was delicious, the sweetness of the melon liqueur and marmalade perfectly balanced with the lemon

life is a lemon cocktail

The menu will be changed four times a year, FYI. I had a dinner booked afterwards so we didn’t try any of the food, but I’ll be back. They say they’re open from 12pm-3am every day so they might prove to be a good late night refuge from the messy throngs on the rest of Courtenay Place. I don’t know for certain though cos we were there at 5pm on a Friday.

Yakisoda

Yakisoda is not actually a new space – it’s the mask that BOL at 99 Victoria Street puts on at night.  Although, I’m currently trying to find any trace on the internet that BOL still exists and I’m failing.  So maybe Yakisoda is becoming its permanent skin? There goes what I’d planned to write about how I love popups bringing new things to existing spaces and giving people the chance to try something new while making really efficient use of resources. This also explains why I couldn’t see a BOL sign underneath the Yakisoda one. Ahh having all the knowledge and full story and knowing what we’re talking about, that’s what you come to the Wellingtonista for, right?

But anyway. The interior of Yakisoda is small, and very very simple. There’s a couple of counters to sit at, and a couple of tables with stools, and that’s about it. They’ll bring out candles when it starts getting darker. This is definitely a bar to go to with someone you’re very comfortable talking to, because there aren’t a lot of distractions. You’d also be fine in here by yourself with a book I reckon. The staff are very knowledgeable about their drinks menu and its Japanese/Peruvian inspirations. And the cocktails – oh lorde are they gorgeous. I mean, look at this:

an ice cube at Yaki Soda with katakana burned into it

That’s the Martinique Milk Punch, made with Agricole Rhum – Brown Butter – Peach – Clarified Milk. Apparently they make their ice cubes by heating their katakana stamp and pushing it into the ice cubes. On a hot Wellington day, there is nothing more beautiful than the cold rising up off of this. And the drink! It’s so dreamy and smooth and flavourful. I could have had half a dozen of these and been very happy indeed. Maybe I will next time I’m feeling rich ( $16 is a perfectly normal price for a cocktail, but six of them would not be in my budget). I also tried the ‘Midori?’ which was a perfect tangy balance, and it was very simple and pretty too.

a green tinged cocktail

 

Once again, I didn’t try the food, but the next hot day may very well call for their Kakigori – shaved ice with yuzu and makrut lime.

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There’s been a hotel on Cuba Street for as long as I can remember.  In sixth form my very daring sex-having friend booked herself and her boyfriend a room at Trekkers Hotel for after our ball at Cuba Cuba (but she ended up getting too drunk to leave the room).  In the mid naughties, we nominated the hotel owner for a TAWA award as super villain of the year and he did not care for that at all. About ten years ago, we went to a Fishhead party there and models said “gosh you’re brave” because we got in our togs and went for a swim, but I’ve been able to swim since I was 7 so I don’t know what’s so brave about that? But anyway. There’s a new owner now, and a new hotel in the form of the Naumi Studio Wellington. And holy crap it looks gorgeous (Photos are supplied because I am a shit photographer).

Naumi lobby

Well, when we say new, we mean the old CQ Hotel has had a massive renovation. And if you’ve spent any time at all in the hotel as it used to be, the new version will knock your socks off.

The multi-million dollar renovation took place over the past 18 months, with a significant halt on developments through Covid-19 lockdown.

There are 115 rooms including spacious junior and executive suites, each room expertly designed with comfort in mind and furnished with a smart screen, Netflix, and by-the-bed device charging ports.The exectutive suite of the Naumi

A grand entrance on Dunlop Street leads you straight to the bar, aptly named Lola Rouge and she is a beauty. Pull up a stool at Lola Rouge, and learn from the barkeep about hotel custodian, Lady Naumi. Her story is the foundation of the hotel and its design. Uncover her secrets and immerse into the curious and quirky tales of Lady Naumi and what became of her sailor lover.

CEO of Naumi Hotels NZ and Australia is Mr Gaurang Jhunjhnuwala who took ownership of the property in late 2018.

“Developing the building especially through Covid lockdown restrictions has been a challenging labour of love, but to see it all come to life and the doors opened is joyful for our family and we hope you love it as much as we do”

“As most locals know, the property is steeped in history, with stories to be shared and told, as well as some that should probably stay firmly locked in the walls” adds Gaurang.

A very green gorgeous lounge

I haven’t stayed there yet, though I am booked in a for a review later this month, but I have stayed at the Naumi at Auckland Airport and loved it and all its quirky Insta-perfect design. I’m sad that the enormous baths haven’t made their way down to Wellington, but I understand that space is a little bit tighter in a heritage building on Cuba Street.  If the rellies are planning on staying at yours these holidays, maybe leave them to it and book yourself a Naumi room instead?

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Preview: The Slutcracker

by librarykris on November 19, 2020 in Dance

The cast of The Slutcracker surround Jake Brown who is wearing a star-like crown and posing with hands crossed in front of him. They are all looking out at the viewer.

image credit Jason Aldous

From School For Gifted Children, and the creator of Change Your Own Life comes a new queer ballet for Christmas. Loosely based on the classic Tchaikovsky ballet The Nutcracker, The Slutcracker tells the story of a queer chosen family Christmas gathering, and a romantic whirlwind night through the queer streets of Wellington.

Director Jean Sergent says “I was sitting in the BATS dressing room on the first day we went into level 1 after lockdown. I was completely alone, about to perform a live-stream of Change Your Own Life, and I suddenly thought, man, I am lonely in here without other actors!” The Slutcracker was Jean’s answer to that loneliness. In creating a show with a strong ensemble spirit, grounded in a desire to connect and have fun with other performers, Jean wanted to give people a chance to make theatre in 2020. “It was tough during lockdown for live artists. We had no idea if shows would be going ahead or not. Live artists depend on gigs to make a living, and so many of us saw so many of our jobs get cancelled or put on hold.

Multi-talented Brigid Costello is returning to Wellington to choreograph The Slutcracker, following four years as the company choreographer for the Pop Up Globe in Auckland. Having played Clara in The Nutcracker during her professional ballet career, Brigid is excited to queer the text and change the norms around who ballet is for. Fresh from a sell-out season of The Glitter Garden, composer Maxwell Apse will be arranging the original Tchaikovsky score to bring in modern beats and the sounds of the streets, clubs, and cafes of Wellington. The ensemble includes Dryw McArthur, Jake Brown, Andrew Patterson, Georgia Kellett, Felix Crossley-Pritchard, Shay Tanirau, and Sam Ropati.

Join Clyde, Joe, Mother Ginger, the Rat King, and the Sugar Plum Fairy as they explore the true meaning of Christmas – connection, love, joy, and community!

  • The Slutcracker, on at BATS Theatre* 24 November – 12 December 2020 (Get the Festive Upgrade for $40 to add a tasty tipple to your ticket and to give the artists involved a few more dollars!)

* Have a look at all the other shows BATS have to the end of the year. We’re so lucky that we can see our talented creators and performers in a shared theatre space.

image credit Jason Aldous

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Preview: Ubu sux

by librarykris on November 13, 2020 in Uncategorised

Promotional image of the cast rioting in their theatre seatsIt’s citizen versus everything in this totally original, entirely reimagined adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s classic avant-garde satire Ubu Rex. Grotesque, ridiculous and deeply profound, this irreverent adaptation of Ubu Rex draws from a huge range of source material to amplify the messages from Jarry’s original narrative. The live show is multimedia in every respect, with Ubu Sux also being live-streamed to devices all over the world including this year’s Melbourne Fringe, one of a huge number of arts’ festivals to adapt to 2020’s restrictions on physical gatherings and embrace digital delivery.

Director Paula van Beek says that the Whitireia Stage & Screen students are loving the chance to explore working with technologies that look set to become commonplace in the future. “How we’re manipulated to hear, believe and pay attention to people in positions of power is at the heart of Ubu Sux. The show asks some hard questions about ‘the economy of influence’ and the effect it is having on young people all over the world. This new adaptation aims to dissolve some of the unconscious bias that’s templated into decisions about which stories get told. When I initially took a translation of Ubu Rex to the company, they articulated some really clear concerns about what it would mean to choose a play that gives a revolting character like Pa Ubu so much limelight. And that was a really exciting moment. Even though Jarry’s Ubu plays are satirical, the students pointed out that airtime is still airtime –  even if you are poking fun.  We decided to explore how Pa Ubu could be muted, side-lined or ignored to allow the other characters in the play to have a chance to speak and tell their stories. We wanted lots of different perspectives represented.

The cast and crew are excited to explore different points of view – not only of the characters but also of how audiences can see the work, whether that’s in the theatre, or through screen. van Beek says “We can’t wait to bring these new characters, new perspectives and brand-new original songs to life for other people. They could be in the room with us, at home watching online, or in the cinema at Te Auaha seeing the show beam in from next door to the big screen… we’ll know they’re there and feel the connection. I wonder how different their experiences will be?

  • Ubu sux on at Te Auaha, 17-19 November 2020

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