Voting in the Fourth Annual Wellingtonista Awards is open from December 1-15. Then come find out the results at our Awards Night at Mighty Mighty on December 17!

To vote, visit this page.

It doesn’t matter how good the food is at a restaurant or how comfortable a bar’s stools are if the staff scowl at you and dump your order down grumpily in front of you. What makes us loyal customers is the interaction with the people on the other side of the customer, and these men and women are the shining stars in their field. Being served by them really does make the day better.

Dominic at Hashigo Zake: When a bar has over 200 different beers in stock, you’re going to need some guidance. Luckily for patrons at Hashigo Zake, Dominic is your man. Ask him for something girlie and he’ll give you tastes from what’s on tap that week; ask him for the strangest beer in the bar and you’ll get a bacon-tasting Smokey Bishop from Invercargill. Dominic is insanely passionate about beer and very happy to share that passion with you. If the bar’s quiet, he’ll talk you through his stock at great length, and even when it’s busy he still cares about helping you to make the hard decision about what to try next.

Jane and Paul and Raechel at Green Land: Sometimes you gotta know where everybody knows your name, even if it’s a tiny almost-hole-in-the-wall. Jane and Paul know almost all their customers, and no matter how hungover they are, they’re always happy to see you. It’s a sign of how caring they are that instead of having a tip jar, they pick a charity each month you can put your spare coins towards, and display how much they’ve raised on a blackboard to give you extra warm fuzzies.

Matt at Mojo Old Bank: Matt has been a force of nature of the social media sites. His Twitter feed brings daily specials to his customers and his coffee ain’t bad either. And he genuinely wants to know you, not just your money. (sniff) He’s just such a great guy! (sob sob)

The crew at Hawthorn: Alisa and the boys probably know exactly what your poison is and are very happy to make it for you exactly the way you want it. Extra olives in your martini? No problem! Extra flames on your zombie? Bring it on! They are also charmingly discreet in suggesting that they call you a taxi should you have one zombie too many, and for that we salute them.

The crew at Hooch: We were a little worried when we heard that the McKenzies were opening another bar, because the service at Hawthorn has always been so good that how could they recreate that? But somehow they managed, and even though Hooch is on Courtenay Place, it’s sophisticated and classy. The cocktails are as expertly made as you’d expect, the staff are charming, and Jonny is very good at getting rid of creepy old men if they’re bothering you (although Tom no doubt curses them for that…).