Die-hard Espressoholic fans seem to be happy that it will continue in a new location, taking over from Dorothy’s Patisserie in Cuba St. There are still grumblings about its previous location being taken over by "another godawful Courtenay Place bar", but there are signs that its replacement, "Enigma", might not be another Shooters or Electric Avenue. For a start, the sign in the window describes it as a "café/bar", and the painting going on inside seems to have a similar graffiti theme to the old place. Some have even said that there are links to the old Espressoholic management, so perhaps some of whatever it was that people saw in the place will remain, for better or worse. But are we to expect a soundtrack of Gregorian chants and shakuhachi samples?

There are plenty of other changes going on in the bar and café world, and it’s not all doom & gloom. I’ll keep you in on the gossip after the jump.

Don’t need to be Koi, Roy…

…but Koi looks like it’s not too far away as the replacement for Copita, with logos all over the awning already. The food sounds quite interesting, but it will mainly be bar snacks, with the emphasis a bit more on drinking than in its illustrious fine-dining predecessor.

As my colleagues mentioned, I’ve been busily tweeting away, but for those not following the tweets, here’s a summary of recent news, gossip and speculation, plus a few other morsels…

Comings and Goings

The start of each year often sees a shake-up of the bar and restaurant scene, and with the Current Economic ClimateTM one might expect a few more closures than usual. Let’s not dwell on such morbid speculation, and look at a few closings and openings that we do know about.

While discussing the demise of Temperance (which didn’t reopen this weekend, despite DB’s threats assurances), Blair mentioned that the Courtenay Arms had been replaced by something called "The Kiwi Pub". It doesn’t look quite as dire as I had feared, and its light, airy feel is more beach café than six-o’clock swill. It’s still nostalgia-by-numbers, though, presumably aimed at the backpacker market, and despite the odd decent beer on the list, the Society Of Beer Advocates is not impressed.

The Kiwi Pub

Across the road, New Orleans will open its new Allen St location in a a couple of weeks, in the space long left vacant by the unlamented Play. I hope it lasts longer than its cursed Lambton Quay incarnation, and while it’s presumably aiming at a different demographic, its Cajun cuisine will have stiff competition from Sweet Mother’s Kitchen around the corner.

Read more…

O Temperance, O Mores

So, in accordance with rumours that have been floating around for a few months now, The Temperance is closing. So long: we hardly knew you.

But things aren’t so simple. According to the article, it’s more of a stoush between the head leaseholder (Dominion Breweries) and the operator (Andrew Gibson): the receivers have been called in, but it is expected to reopen by this weekend. Apparently, the Queensgate Mall of pubs was actually turning a profit.

Oh. And here were we thinking that this was a sign that Wellingtonians had some taste after all.

Yet another mystery bar

I’ve never been afraid of eclecticism. A dash of Kiwiana and a touch of faded grandeur can go down a treat if served with a generous slug of hipster irony (see Mighty Mighty). A grab-bag of Nana kitsch can turn into something resembling conceptual art if it’s assembled with wit and flair (see Auckland’s Northern Steamship Company). But sometimes it all goes horribly wrong.


I know! Let’s grab some swatches of loud old carpet and put them in gold frames along the bar! Ooh, let’s get some random balustrades and standard lamps to mix in with the leftover expensive designer chairs from the last place! Hmm, needs more cross-stitch to go with the weatherbeaten weatherboards and seven patterns of wallpaper. Floral-painted female torsos will add some artsy class above the urinals. But it needs to be blokier, so let’s add dozens of TV screens to show our branded Flash animations when the footie’s not on, and the piece de resistance: a map of New Zild made out of Tui caps. Maaaate! [Read more]

A Hiding to Nothing

I was planning a mystery bar post about the big new place in town, but somehow I just wasn’t inspired. Let’s just say that Osteria del Toro is to the Mediterranean what Monsoon Poon is to Asia. Make of that what you will.

But after dinner I ran across this paste-up in a dark alley:

Something gives me the impression that this was not intended as a finished work of art: more as a canvas for further creative intervention. Make of that what you will.

The Safety Dance

The Fly was out buzzing around recently, and was horrified to hear someone at a supposedly upmarket bar (for its type) politely ask a gentleman to remove his hat. Why might this be? he asked. Apparently it was a "security issue".

No hats, mate!

Are the watering holes of Wellington desparately afraid of tommy guns in trilbys? Semtex in sombreros? Flick-knives in fedoras? Apparently not, because the gentleman in question was later approached by the apologetic bar manager and provided with a glass of wine on the house, because the rule was devised to deter chavs rather than chaps: a rash of baseball caps at apeish rather than rakish angles had prompted a revision of the dress code.

Fair enough, one might say, but numerous punters were happily served while wearing the aforementioned ersatz sporting headgear, and one rum cove was even spotted wearing something more appropriate for a llama herder than a man-about-town. While one can sympathise with the management looking askance at our companion’s attire (and really, a Gatsby cap and club collar is so nouveau riche), surely if they mean to enforce sartorial standards it would be better not to hide behind "security" concerns and just be open about it.

Le Parkour Wellington

Ever been wandering around town and seen a group of youngsters behaving like a bunch of naughty monkeys? Whaddya know.. they’re probably doing parkour.

Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or or “free-running” or l’art du déplacement (“the art of displacement”) is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body.

Founded by David Belle in France, parkour focuses on practicing efficient movements to develop your body and mind to be able to overcome obstacles in an emergency. It is also practiced by many as a form of entertainment or as a pastime.

As I hinted above, there’s a thriving parkour scene in Wellington; especially in and around the urban/recreational areas of the waterfront and Civic Square.

Interested? There’s more after the jump..