The Wellingtonista

Random stuff about Wellington since 2005

The Wellingtonista guide to drinking for free

by Tom on October 21, 2007 in Events, Food & Drink

Now, don’t get me wrong: we Wellingtonistas are not usually parsimonious when it comes to paying for drinks. On the other hand, we’re a canny and logical bunch, and it only takes about 10 free glasses of house wine to save up enough for a Mega Mai Tai, so in the long run it pays to seek out gratis grog.

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Let’s start with the obvious: gallery openings and launches. You can get lucky by simply cruising the streets on a midweek night seeking the tell-tale sounds of clinking glasses and poststructuralist discourse, but dedicated cheapskates know that the best way to guarantee results is to get on the mailing lists.

It’s also worth thinking beyond the obvious venues: the Film Archive often has free entertainment (bands, motorbikes…) to go with the drinks, and the exhibitions are in a darkened room, which makes it easier to avoid having to talk about the art. Thursday night’s launch of “Roy Orbison in Clingfilm” at Mighty Mighty offered free Jaegermeister, though it came with a catch: you had to endure mummification in gladwrap before you received your shot. It was worth it.

Wine tastings are another classic, though it takes a bit of persistence and guile to add up to a full glass. Wineseeker is one of our favourites, not just because of the great selections and loveable staff, but because their daily tastings can get quite generous if you ask nicely. It still won’t be a huge amount, but it’s a great way to kick off the afternoon.

But our most regular source of free booze is quiz nights. You do, however, have to earn your right to cashless carousing by actually answering enough questions correctly to get in the top three. For that reason we cannot recommend the Tuesday night quizzes at the Southern Cross, despite the live Hammond organ accompaniment, refreshing absence of sports rounds and certain people’s obsession with the quiz master: the Wellingtonista team is always there, so you’ll have to settle for second or third. Sorry.

Tom Beard

On the Venn diagram of life, Tom lives in the vanishingly small intersection between data science, urban design, modular synthesis, writing, gastronomy and meteorology.

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