Another craft beer bar for Wellington

by Joanna on April 14, 2013

dive bar photo Picture pinched from their Facebook site

Opening this Friday is another craft beer bar called Golding’s Free Dive, at 14 Leeds Street. That’s right by Pizza Pomodoro, for those of you playing along at home, and they’ll be making full use of their location.

Golding’s Free Dive conveniently shares the courtyard with Pomodoro Pizza, which is just as well as Pomodoro will deliver a pizza to your table to accompany your tasty craft beer or you can choose an item from the in-house menu.

We’re excited about this, and it sounds like it’s going to be a good casual bar with a great range of drinks, but this quote from the press release had the Wellingtonista email list abuzz (or as abuzz as it gets these days now we do most of our exclaiming on Twitter).

“What we really wanted to do is get away from the cookie-cutter bars which seem to be infesting the city these days where big breweries throw money at bar owners, in return for stocking their product and following their rules. There’s a certain type of crowd these bars attract, but they can drive away everyone else who just wants to sit and enjoy a drink.”

Now, perhaps we are trapped in our own wanky bubble, but are there actually many cookie cutter bars opening up these days? Everything seems to be trying to be independent and quirky. Even Bin44 which has the most bland interior ever this side of the Tap Haus (and could desperately use some magazines or newspapers for its lunchtime diners) has a big range of craft beers on tap and has played host to Garage Project tap takeovers and the like.

One ‘ista said “When does Peak Craft Beer happen?” and another replied “I have this theory that craft beer now is about where coffee was 3-5 years ago. We’ve even got the *hausen playing Mojo. So in a couple of years it should fragment into uber-hipster and generic-and-very-slightly-better-than-the-Establishment.”

Like I said, we are looking forward to going to Golding’s Free Dive (though shouldn’t “dive” be a term someone else calls you, not something you can call yourself?), but I wanna know what the next big trend will be. Your thoughts in the comments, thanks!

Greig April 15, 2013 at 7:41 am

Why should there be peak craft beer any more than there has been market saturation of NZ draught beers for decades? Why does craft beer have to be seen as a scene, and not just a shift in the way people would like to enjoy a pint? What if every bar in NZ stocks craft beer as well as the more “historical” options? Wouldn’t that be great?

I can’t wait until craft beer is just called “beer”. 🙂

Tom April 15, 2013 at 9:07 am

I think you’re right, Greig. What we may see instead is a “peak” in the use of the term “craft beer bar” as a point of difference, as it gradually becomes the norm for bars to provide a wide range of flavoursome independent beers. A lot of bars now would serve a range of wines that would have justified them calling themselves “wine bars” 20 years ago, but now it’s taken for granted that they should have a decent range of wines by the glass, so they don’t bother. I can see that happening to beer, and I look forward to that.

Having said that, the duopoloy aren’t going to make it easy, and we’ll probably see them co-opting the movement with their faux-craft ranges. And even once it becomes the norm to take beer seriously, some will continue to take it more seriously and act as focal points for beer geekery. Wine and coffee weren’t fads; neither is craft beer.

Greig April 15, 2013 at 9:51 am

Heh, I just penned a bit of a rant for Pursuit of Hoppiness hating on the term “faux craft”, but I know what you mean. Agree totally that this “fad” is here to stay. First time I’ve ever been trendy in my life! 😉

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