It’s one thing to look for food in the government quarter, but what a politico barfly wants to know is “Where can I get a decent Champagne within crawling distance of Parliament?”. As DPF and Cactus Kate found out (standard Kiwiblog warning: comments contain copious amounts of poo), there is nothing worthwhile at the Back Bencher (Kate evidently shares my lack of excitement for Mumm).

Apart from Maria Pia’s and Le Canard (which presumably have fine selections, but don’t count as bars), there really is not much proper bubbly around in Thorndon. Following the Wellingtonista tradition of preferring useful information to vindictive invective, after the jump I have provided a list, in approximate order of distance from the Back Bencher, of Champagne selections at nearby bars and pubs.

Thistle Inn: Gosset NV
Occidental: Laurent-Perrier NV
Plate: Mumm NV, Moët & Chandon NV
Trade Kitchen: Laurent-Perrier NV (and probably others)
Paris: two NV plus Dom Perignon

Once you get to that distance, you reach Arbitrageur and the Wine Loft, and all but the fussiest flies should have no complaints at either. But that’s a fair stagger, and while one would not expect great things from the Back Bencher (despite the excellence of Cellarvate), it does raise the question of why there are no proper bars (just pubs, cafés and restaurants) up that end of town. Sure, the stereotypical grey-cardiganned civil servant would have tut-tutted at the thought, but times are different now, and I’d have thought that a Vivo- or Beaujolais-style wine bar would go down very well in that locale. Perhaps someone should buy up that old substation next to the MfE building and turn it into a real cocktail and wine bar, with enough choice of Champers to keep even the prickliest cactus happy.