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

Friday, August 25, 2006

Mystery bar number 40

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At the risk of overdoing the boozy theme this week, it's time for another mystery bar. Last week's didn't take long to identify, which is not surprising since it's just opened in a high-profile location. An anonymous commenter identified it as Boss, which has taken over both Diva and the old La Casa Pasta upstairs. Diva closed quite some time ago (last year, I think). The transformation has taken a long, long time: possibly due to the installation of 7 acoustically-isolated karaoke booths upstairs, and partly because the redesign is the work of, ahem, enthusiastic amateurs.

Mystery bar #40 - sofasThis week's mystery bar is much more professional, and yet it still has a decor that is eclectic, verging on the eccentric. The studded leather sofas hint at gentlemen's club conservatism; gaudy chandeliers and shimmering curtains steer more towards grandiose Trumpery; surrealist artworks speak of conspicuous connoisseurship; and a monograph on Gaudí has been left casually on a table to signify that the intended clientele seeks the unconventional in art in architecture. On the other hand, the exterior of the building has an austerity that makes the syncretic oddity within all the more surprising.

Mystery bar #40 - chandelierThe location, in a part of town that has been rapidly improving, could be something really special. The narrow windows emphasise privacy rather than openness, but there are plans for this establishment to take more advantage of the view. As a bar it's fairly unambitious at the moment, with a short (though expensive) wine list and little pretense to be a cocktail bar. But if the expansion plans of its high-profile owner go ahead, this could make a very important contribution to the streetscape and fill a gap in the hospitality map.


At 2:25 PM, August 26, 2006, Blogger Maximus said...

High Profile owner ? Austere outside, belying the gaudiness inside? Frills and bows? Glittery chandaliers? Well, i haven't been their myself, but it sounds remarkably like the bars inside the Museum Hotel.

While the exterior is sombre, and black, and one might reasonably expect the interior to have a bit of the same, the interior is wildly frilly, and flounces with a campness that one would not suspect the owner, Chris Parkin, to have a part in.

Unless of course the new Gov'nor General has opened up a bar in the palace....?

At 12:53 PM, August 28, 2006, Anonymous simon said...


At 1:47 PM, August 29, 2006, Blogger Jules van Cruysen said...

It is the bar of the Museum Hotel. SWANKY!

At 4:51 PM, August 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that "swanky" with a silent "s"?

At 7:32 PM, August 29, 2006, Blogger stephen said...

[S]wanky or no, can they drop a decent 'tini, Tom?

At 10:37 AM, August 30, 2006, Blogger Maximus said...

so i was right then? Or do i have to name it to claim a chocolate fish? What is it likely to be called?
- the Parkin ?
The Merkin ?
The Darcy Glossop ?
The Glassy Dollop ?

designed by Liz at
"Cut the Mustard"

At 11:46 AM, August 30, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Stephen: I didn't try a 'tini, since it didn't have a big spirits selection and it looked like they had the ingredients. This was the lobby bar, though I gather there's another on the 3rd floor that might be more comprehensive.

Maximus: no name required; in fact, I don't think it has a name per se. Remind me to buy you a drink some time!


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