A couple of new(ish) bars

Hey, remember when we used to be on top of all the openings and closings in town and filled with reviews? Yeah me neither. The ‘ista is old and property-and-business owning now, and we have Twitter instead of our group mailing list. But we can still try! So to that end, here’s a couple of […]

And on the third day, He boozed again

While not of a religious persuasion, we flies can see the value of the pagan festivals that pre-dated Easter. After all, who wouldn’t want to celebrate the bountiful fertility of nature that brings us grapes, and hops, and agave, and … well, you can see where I’m going with this.

The gummint, that’s who! Easter licensing laws remain as restrictive as ever, and just as the bingeing worshipping gets into full swing at midnight on Saturday, bars will be forced to shut. Or will they?

Drinking in the streets

PhotobucketThe Masked Barfly has joined the problem drinkers in Cuba Mall. No, I haven’t started quaffing meths or wrestling diners for their steaks (it’s all a filthy lie): Good Luck have gone overground and now have an outdoor drinking area in the middle of the mall. I suppose the local retailers don’t mind people drinking in the streets as long as we’re paying them $15 a pop for the privilege.

A couple of us flies were still buzzing after the Ornette Coleman gig, and after a quick stop at Kazu to fill our abdomens (and to sup on salt-rimmed sake & tonic – so wrong and yet so right) we headed off to Happy for the rumoured “after party”. Well, it was definitely afterwards, and I suppose it was a party, but unless we left too early (the Newtown bus was calling) there was no sign of Mr Coleman or even one of his myriad bassists. Oh well, a Chris Knox sighting will do for now.

So, “El Toro” is it? It seems all things Mexican are hot right now, and while it’s not exactly a tequila bar, Viva Mexico from the much-missed Wakefield Markets will be making a welcome return. It opens this Friday at the back of the Left Bank, complete with old favourites like Divorced Eggs and new hipster-friendly Dios de los Muertos décor.

Speaking of comebacks, Herd Street Brasserie is apparently set to reopen next month. Let’s hope that the new owners are more savvy than the original ones: though let’s face it, that wouldn’t be hard. And the Masked Barfly also hopes that they continue an emphasis on alcohol as well as food: all together now, “Oh I do like to drink beside the seaside…”

Fly on the wall

Greetings: it’s The Masked Barfly here, and I’ve been keeping my compound eyes peeled for drinky stories to keep you informed, entertained and inebriated. With the Fest about to kick off, and the Fringe well under way, it’s going to be a busy time out on the town for a while.

Bars near the Fowl-house and Town Hall are likely to be humming, and while I don’t expect the luvvies and K-block matrons to be hitting Blend or Downtown Local (now, that would be a scene to see!), cafes like Felix, Finc and The Lido will be crammed with ethically-faux furs and rented tuxes. Poncier bars such as St Johns will be taken over for sponsors’ drinks, such as for tonight’s opening Ornette Coleman, though I wonder what most of the braying suits would make of the squawking sax?

While there’s nowhere brand-new to take advantage of the free-spending boomers, the fly is noticing a buzz building around the Courtenay Place and Blair St area, and is getting quite excited. No, not over The Temperance (while any barfly can appreciate the ironic moniker, three floors of tanked-up boofheads is not my idea of fun), but over a couple of highly-anticipated and long-rumoured openings. UU (did anyone ever call it that?) has been closed for renovations, and a sneaky peak revealed the mirrors giving way to brick. That, combined with the appearance of bullfighting posters in the window, has me wondering: could this be a proper tapas bar at last. And as for what’s happening in Blair St … well, my mandibles are sealed.

Not-so Breaking News

stolen from flickr

  • Tupelo has moved its beer menu to all boutique styles, with only Heineken remaining on its menu as a mainstream drop. They also have the very tasty Nelson Bays Gold and Nelson Bays Pilsner on tap, with (classy glass) jugs for just $10.
  • Meanwhile the Wellingtonista’s semi-tiki bar of choice, Imbibe is now offering brunch on Friday-Sunday. While there was no obviously displayed menu on the windows, the people sitting contentedly in the sun appeared to be tucking in to large plates of eggs. Hopefully they’ll have more on offer for those of us less eggily inclined, because it’s a gorgeous space and looks very nice and chilled out for a hangover breakfast.
  • And finally, the Dominion Post can as usual be relied on to run front-page stories about the weather in exact reverse of what’s going on that day, so today’s rain brings a ‘Drought!’ cover story. Hurrah!

[photo by AndrewNZ]

Bar Wars

The Capital Times has begun its 2006 Best of Wellington survey (not online), inviting readers to vote for their favourite things under dozens of categories.

However, one category is glaringly absent: best bar. They have best barman, barmaid, music venue and nightclub, but no bar (or best Martini, for that matter).

[read on…]