In the corner office of our wonderful Ivory Tower (literally now, thanks Noizy for shelling out for that rebuild) we look down upon the seething populace of Wellington that we love so dear and think to ourselves: if only  they were as perfect as we are. At which point it’s time for our 11am massage and manicure.

This time gave us the chance to construct a short list of establishments around Wellington that could be better if only they changed some things.

The Port Cafe

What they have going for them: Fantastic daytime sun, great city views, really good fish & chips, and a BYO license.
What they need to change: The decor! Plain white walls and concrete floors alone do not add up to stylish minimalism: that requires elegant proportions and exquisite detailing, whereas this place just looks cheap and unfinished. The chairs were salvaged from the bargain bin at Warehouse Stationery, and the only attempts at actual design (model ships and some blue downlights) make it look tawdry and twee. Either get in a proper interior designer or drop the prices and be a plain old chippie.

The Green Room

What they have going for them: A nice little bar on the waterfront. In summer it gets a fair share of the afternoon sun.
What they need to change: The music. Possibly the worst music in all of Wellington’s bars, and that’s quite an achievement. A mix of Beach Boys, Eric Clapton and the Eagles gives this bar an exquisite tackiness it doesn’t need nor really deserve. They could also afford to knock down the prices on some of their drinks.

The Establishment

What they have going for them: Great location, heaps of space and different areas for different moods, lots of sun until late, especially on their balcony, tasty fries, $3 pints, simple but nice decor.
What they need to change: their ambition to be a student bar. Drop the theme nights, raise the price of the pints, and get rid of the ’80s standard music. Oh, and reserve us a table on the balcony for all of summer.

The Fisherman’s Table – O Bay and Paekakariki

What they have going for them: Location, location, location. Nice place to drink Pimms or G&T in the sun.
What they need to change: Late ’80s/early ’90s menu, the Seafood Basket et al has some nostalgic appeal until you take the first bite of faux squid and oversauced coleslaw – piss off like Cobb & Co and relinquish your exceptional real estate.

Offbeat Originals – Left Bank

What they have going for them: Tofu Burgers that defy belief; even non-vegetarians bypass the meatier offerings in order to get the soy/mayo/chili combo stickying up their fingers. Also gets points for originally opening as a kitschy ’70s artglass nostalgia shoppe, then converting to a cafe when their kitchenalia didn’t sell so well. Milkshakes come in purple/orange giraffed ‘Longest drink in town’ cups, spaceman ciggies line the counter and Gen X-ers line up in their hordes.
What they need to change: The sub-standard seating; half of the chairs fall over at the least provocation (like sitting down on them, for example). Some of the staff can be a bit ‘vague’, but when you’re getting the best burger in town for $6 who’s complaining? Upgrade the seats and I’ll get my shake ‘have here’ thanks!

The Bach – Island Bay

What they have going for them: Stunning views out over Cook Strait, a nice fireplace, and some (sometimes) decent art on the walls.
What they need to change: Their coffee making. The outside seats in front are good, but imagine how nice it’d be on a sunny and still day (yes, we do have them) if they could throw a few seats and tables over the road a la Chocolate Fish. Also, their service leaves a lot to be desired at times.

Electric Avenue

What they have going for them:
An ostensibly ’80s-themed bar in the heart of the entertainment/debauchery quarter; split levels, upstairs/downstairs bars and a balcony overlooking one of the primary “action” intersections in town. Moody lighting. A decent-sized dancefloor. A cocktail list. A DJ playing a hand-picked selection of ’80s music.
What they need to change: See, it all sounds so good on paper, doesn’t it? But it’s all just so wrong. For a start the DJ needs a couple of decks and a mixer and some 12″s, rather than playing mp3s off of a computer. He also needs to stop leering down from his booth like a retarded Silverback. In fact they could send him back to doing weddings and 21sts at surburban community halls and RSAs and hire someone with a clue. Then there’s the actual music – instead of a sublime selection of lithe post-punk, electro and new wave interspersed with the occasional top-40 hit, they’ve lazily opted for a playlist which might as well just be a jukebox playing Time Life’s 2CD Eighties Music compilation vols 1 through 3. On repeat. Oh, and the bar staff need to drop the attitude a little bit.