What makes a cafe/bar/restaurant a place to you want to return to over and over again? Simple. It is people, it is people, it is people. And these are some of the finest people in town.

Customs Brew Bar

Customs’ large range of single-origin coffees and exotic ways of brewing coffee may seem a little daunting for the average espresso drinker, but the staff will take their time to explain this bold new world of coffee. Not only that, the coffee is expertly brewed and presented with care.

Customs Brew Bar: 39 Ghuznee Street

The owners of the caravan on Ghuznee Street

The CaravanThe caravan mysteriously showed up next to the Princess’s Bedroom caravan in the empty yard on Ghuznee Street. It’s staffed by a really lovely couple who prepare their range of takeaway noms with care and love.

The Caravan: 44 Ghuznee St

Jonny at Cuckoo

Oh Mr McKenzie, we’d follow you to the edge of the universe – or at least to Lambton Quarter (and probably to Miramar now too)! Jonny establishes fantastic bars, and then makes sure they stay full by providing that extra level of attention. He knows customers’ names and how they have their martinis, and is always ready to offer suggestions about what to try next.

Cuckoo Cocktail Emporium: Kumutoto Plaza

The boys of Monterey

Monterey in Newtown is all kinds of wonderful (their interiors featured in Urbis magazine dontcha know) but their service is truly pitch perfect. You know when someone is truly present and attentive but not all up your grill trying to dazzle you with their personality? Ever calm, sweet and thoughtful the boys at Monterey give you the space to unwind, doodle on the table or get absorbed in a game of scrabble but if you need guidance choosing a drink or navigating the new menu they will be there for you. And like a loving parent, they’ll even hold onto all your works of art and hang them on the refridgerator internet.

Monterey Newtown: 4 Rintoul St, Newtown

The crew at Hashigo Zake

Image by Jed Soane

When there’s eleventy hundred beers on offer, you’re going to need some guidance. Just as well then, that the fine people at Hashigo, led by the mighty Dominic, are well happy to let you sample what’s on tap before you buy. They offer discounts to SOBA members and occasionally geeks – in fact, they’re so geek-friendly that if you want the air conditioner turned up, you can just tweet them and ask instead of fighting your way to the counter when it’s busy!

Hashigo Zake: 25 Taranaki St