Mystery bar number 14
Last week's mystery bar was guessed by Mike C, who thoughtfully hinted at it's name so as to give others a go. It's the new branch of One Red Dog down at Kumutoto, and it has finally opened after months of looking half-finished. "Family-friendly" pizza chains may not exactly be my idea of fun, but cheap Bolly in the sun definitely is, and as I've yet to see it overrun by rug rats, it could be worth a look.
This week's mystery bar might be a bit trickier, as it's not so visible. It goes for a very minimalist look, but the dark materials and use of rough exposed concrete give it a warmer, more textural feel than if it had had smooth white walls. It also make it feel compact and intimate, though that's not difficult given its small size: just a long bar, a couple of leaners and some low tables. If it weren't for the window at one end, giving access to a balcony and a lively view, it would verge on the claustrophobic. As it is, it's cosy and stylish, though it might be a different story when it's packed.
I think it could really fill a gap in the Wellington bar scene, since it specialises in a particular intoxicating beverage that other specialist bars don't. They also seem to have a basic cross section of the usual beverages, though I'm a little dubious about the three-litre beer towers: call me a snob if you like, but I think they lower the tone a little.
The previous business on this site was a restaurant that had more of a reputation for drunken hilarity than for cleanliness and culinary excellence. The place has certainly been cleaned up, and the food, while more snack-oriented, should be excellent if the owners' reputation is anything to go by. It could still go in different directions, depending upon the clientele it attracts: relaxed and sophisticated, or drunken and debauched. Personally, I'm hoping for a combination of the two, as while there's a certain formality, bars overseas with a similar vibe have turned into the perfect spots for indulging in a bit of late night loucheness.