Personal reflections on urbanism, urban life and sustainable urban design in Wellington, New Zealand.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Shops that pass in the night 6

Most of the recent musical-shops action has been going on around Cuba and Ghuznee St, and that continues with Leather Direct moving down Cuba from number 177 to the space vacated by Bellamys bookshop. The Cuba St hospitality scene in the area is going through a steady revival, too: Neat may have finally closed (and no, that's not the latest mystery bar: do I have to drop some more hints?), but the former Cordoba next door looks close to reopening, with one of Neat's former chefs at the helm. Another former café is set to reopen very soon too, but I might just keep you guessing on that one.

Wellington Hatters in Woodward StSome retailers are making bigger moves than just shuffling around Cuba St. House of Hank is moving all the way from Willis St to the more corporate environment of Woodward St, in the space where Morrison Hotel used to be. But the new shop will be quite different from the old. While his tailored menswear will still be for sale, the focus of the shop is on hats, and it has accordingly been christened Wellington Hatters. As my brief Wellingtonista post described, the headwear on offer ranges from the traditional to the spectacular.

Felt hat with feathers from Wellington HattersAlong with Working Style and Beaujolais wine bar, this will turn the top end of Woodward St into a welcome bastion of gentlemanly refinement. Mr Saxby would cautiously approve, though with perhaps a debonair eyebrow quizzically raised at some of Hank's more outré sartorial innovations.

It's a pity that Hank's cutting table will no longer be visible to the public, as the arrangement in his old shop offered a wonderful connection between manufacture and retail. But Hank and his assistants will still be cutting and stitching away nearby, in the basement of the adjacent building, to save us from blandness and conformity. Oh, and isn't it nice to live in a real city full of real shops, and not have to fight our way through gridlock to a crappy assortment of barns in a giant carpark?


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