Mystery bar number 25
David was all over the previous mystery bar like a rash: it is indeed Crazy Horse, a decidedly upmarket steakhouse and bar in Willis St where Armadillo used to be many years ago. I guess I should have expected it to be easy to work out, given that it opened with a splash. The Wellingtonian's new City Style section is full of photos from the opening, which is not surprising given that owner John McGrath seems to have written half the articles. The guests were described as "the city's finest", which apparently equates to a bunch of hospitality regulars with the odd property developer and car dealer. At least Don Brash didn't turn up (which he did to the Bolton Hotel's birthday do).
Like Crazy Horse, today's mystery bar is also primarily about food, but it also has a bar, and you're most welcome to sit at the bar and have a drink without ordering food. But it's actually hard to drink there without eating, since they follow the admirably civilised European tradition of providing free finger food when you order a drink, making it an ideal stop for a tapeo night.
They occasionally have live music, though it seems hard to imagine where the band would fit. The bar manager told me that it's a popular place on rugby nights, which struck me as surprising given the style, size and theme of place (it's hardly the Sports Café).
The decor can best be described as eclectic. It's generally very simple and quite woody, but with an odd collection of artworks and the occasional small objet d'art. Most of these seem to have been chosen to emphasise the generally Mediterranean theme, but there are some rather odd choices among them. Some of the paintings tend towards the surreal, and one in particular could be seen as quite disturbing. Don't let this put you off, though: the food is delicious, and while it covers quite a wide range of styles, the signature dishes are in a style which is hard to find in Wellington.