Superstar DJ

Happy brings back its Vinyl Friday sessions for 2011. Our own Tom Ackroyd will be spinning his 12 inches with vim and vigour from 5.30pm (until 7.30). Here is a little information about Tom (and the other DJ on the night); “This week we have two incredibly exciting, cost-efficient DJs: GREG COBB was born in […]

Webstock directions: rock out, tweet up

We’re not going to bother telling you about Webstock because a) you should already know all about it and b) there was only one ticket left as of this morning (although there are still tickets to the ONYAs available, so get on that. ´╗┐Instead, we’re going to tell you about two related events that we […]

TAWA5: The Winners!

So, we’re still partying at Mighty Mighty right now. Tom’s probably on his seventy-fifth martini, Martha is telling us all how much she loves us, and Jo is probably trying to cause a boobquake all by herself, but we figured we’d come back from the future to tell you all who the winners on the […]

Pardon our dust

We’ve got the movers in at Wellingtonista Towers. Please bear with us while we get things straightened out.

Flying in and switching off

The Oaks complex sometimes seems like a hospitality Bermuda Triangle: fast-food joints and dodgy convenience stores jostle with bars of almost unrelenting crapness. But something’s about to land that looks much more promising: Memphis Belle Coffee House.

Memphis Belle Coffee Shop - Dixon St

With a barista who just came second in the regional champs, a serious-looking range of Flight beans from their Napier home base and glimpses of an interior that looks vastly more sophisticated than its predecessor (not that that’s saying much), Memphis Belle might just put the Oaks curse behind it. It should be opening this week, and definitely seems worth checking out.

On the other hand, it looks like it might be lights out for a bar that was never exactly this fly’s favourite place: Electric Avenue. There was a skip outside this weekend, gradually filling with neon-painted MDF as the gaudy interiors were ripped out. It’s quite possible that it’s just a particularly violent renovation, but it all seems rather sudden, and their Facebook group has been silent for a month. Is there anyone out there who will admit to being a regular and can confirm or refute its demise? And what are the chances of getting a decent bar to replace it? Given the location in Munter Central, I guess the most we could hope for is a bar that can at least spell its street address on its website.

A teatowel coffee guide to Wellington

NZ History have recently added an amazing tea towel, thought to be from the mid-1960s, listing the coffee houses of Wellington.

It’s very cool to see such a list of classy joints that our forefathers and foremothers ran, making Wellington such a good coffee town.

Only a couple of these places are still in existence today (and the Matterhorn’s specialty is no longer "Continental cakes"). I wonder what businesses can now be found in these locations.

(And it’s interesting that in the days before the Beehive and the Fern Ball, the icon of Wellington was, er, the National War Memorial, and National Museum and Gallery.)

Getting slayed at the Customs Brew Bar

There’d been a bit of tooting over on Twitter about Customs Brew Bar, a new cafe from Coffee Supreme, so when it opened the Wellingtonista paid a visit.

It’s not your run-of-the-mill cafe – as well as a lush woodern interior, Customs also sells a range of single-original coffee beans and uses less than ordinary methods of brewing the beans.

So I had a chat to Coffee Supreme’s Justin, who kindly explained the concept behind Customs Brew Bar.

Play Four Square in Wellington!

Foursquare has arrived in Wellington – and we’re one of the first Australasian cities to be included!


But, you say, "I thought Four Square was a chain of over-sized dairies with a charmingly retro Dick Frizzell logo!" To which we’d say, "Ho ho, you cheeky post-ironic urbanites, we mean Foursquare, the location-based social networking game that’s taking the world by storm!"


You may remember back in September we wrote about Twitterplaces, which rather sadly shut up shop almost immediately thereafter. Well, Foursquare was the inspiration for Twitterplaces: when you go to a new place; a bar, restaurant, park, anything, you "check-in"; and then you can see who of your friends are there.


Four Square Wellington LeaderboardAnd that’s just the beginning. There’s an overview of it all here, but here’s the basics.


You can leave tips for things to do at each place, or add other people’s tips to your list; you earn points for check-ins outside work hours, and you can earn badges for various "achievements", like the Bender badge (when you are out for four nights in a row), or the Gym Rat badge (when you are a regular at places tagged as a "Gym").


And: you can become Mayor of a spot by being the person checking-in most often in the last 60 days (though perhaps one should exercise discretion as to where one checks-in if one doesn’t want to become Mayor of a supermarket or shopping centre, like <coff> some of our readers—whom we are too polite to name).


One of the nice things that’s happened in other cities is that Mayors are often rewarded by the proprietors of their places – and that’s what’s happened here already at Mojo Old Bank, where Matt will stand a free coffee to the newly crowned Mayor. We can think of a few other places that we’d like to see extending this sort of courtesy! (Especially the ones we go to often.)


Foursquare depends on having some sort of internet capable mobile device: there’s a mobile web version, as well as the inevitable iPhone and Android apps – and by design these are the only ways you can do check-ins.


So sign up, get out there, and see if you can unseat Pablo G. from the top of the Wellington Leaderboard!

Eating our way through the recession

Remember a few months ago, when doom and gloom dominated the hospo news? Well, there certainly have been a lot of closures in central Wellington, but many of those places have re-opened, and we’ve even got a few brand-new bars and restaurants to celebrate.

Here’s a list of reincarnations:

  • Vintage → Hashigo Zake
  • Calypso → Elixir
  • Epic → Rhythm
  • Chow Cabaret → The Library
  • Paradiso → Betty’s (I insist on the apostrophe)
  • State Opera House Espresso Bar → Pollux

Some brand-new places:

  • Portofino (at Kumutoto)
  • Red Ginger (underneath Hawthorn Lounge)
  • Lychee (in the wilderness of Arthur St)

A couple of rumoured upcoming openings:

  • "Cuba" (replacing Zeal in Garrett St)
  • Yet another Irish pub, replacing New Orleans in Allen St

That leaves a handful of recent failures yet to be revived:

  • Herd St Brasserie
  • Subway at Chaffers Dock
  • Emporio in Chews Lane

If anything, the industry looks to be healthier than a few months ago, and a few of the new places (Pollux, Hashigo Zake and The Library in particular) are among our new favourites. If this means that consumers have stopped spending on Plasma TVs while still dining out, then I applaud their good taste. Of course, it could mean that we’re all committing kuidaore (a Japanese term roughly meaning "to ruin oneself through extravagance in food"). But what a lovely way to go.


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.