WellUrban

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

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mystery bar number 51

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This mystery bar lark is obviously getting too easy for some of you hipsters-about-town. I posted the previous mystery bar less than 24 hours after it opened, and within 2 hours it had been identified. Though I guess if you call yourself a "professional opening goer", then of course you had to be there.

It is indeed The Mighty Mighty (definite article optional), above Mr Bun in Cuba Mall. It's an informal extension of Matterhorn next door, and it's been eagerly awaited for a long time, ever since the previous occupants closed down following an invertebrate embarassment. It's quite a departure for architect Alistar Cox, revelling in burlesque bohemia and kiwiana kitsch instead of his trademark clean dark lines (cf Matterhorn, Mojo or Kaffee Eis). It's a style that hasn't been seen in a major bar in Wellington before, but Gemma's comment that it's managed by the former manager of The Pit make sense, since if I had to do a The Player-style pitch for it, I'd have to describe it as "Cabaret meets The Pit". And as with Cabaret, it's intended as a music venue: and I'm looking forward to Bachelorette playing there tomorrow night.

Mystery bar #51 - clienteleTime for something more obscure. Today's mystery bar is in a heritage building, and in one sense at least it certainly makes the most of it. The place is full of memorabilia and wall displays to remind patrons of the illustrious and colourful past of the building and its environs, but attempts to find a happy medium between historic charm and modern comforts have just resulted in blandness. Perhaps that's hard to avoid in an establishment of this sort, and it's better than some previous incarnations, but it's a bit of a missed opportunity.

The clientele was an odd mix when I visited. There were plenty of young people wandering through, but the bar was dominated by a jovial and already well-lubricated squad (is that the right collective noun?) of rural RSA members. Although this is presumably an unusual neighbourhood for them to gather, they seemed at home among the leather tub chairs and framed rugby jerseys. Despite their rambunctious comradeship, it still feels a long way from the diverse and occasionally scary bunch of people who used to gather here many years ago.

Mystery bar #51 - the bar

12 Comments:

At 1:21 pm, November 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hawthorne?

 
At 3:06 pm, November 17, 2006, Anonymous Gemma said...

Are you serious?

http://wellurban.blogspot.com/2006/11/bouncing-back-3.html

 
At 4:54 pm, November 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pink and green hideous wall outside the window, can surely ony be that nasty neo-crappo building near Molly Malones, so it must be either on Courtenay opposite Courtenay Central, or maybe on / off Taranki looking onto the side of the hideous pink and green monster.... but i'm still none the wiser, so i'll keep schtummm...

 
At 8:24 am, November 20, 2006, Anonymous missdeuxmont said...

Working men's club?

 
At 9:22 am, November 20, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Anon 2: that wall outside is a bit washed out by my crummy camera, so it's actually much more red than pink. In any case, no, it's not near the corner of Courtenay and Taranaki, and it's not the working men's club (which closed down earlier this year).

 
At 4:59 pm, November 20, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrrumpff !! Hmm, not there then... what about Vivian St, / Upper Cuba St, regarding your final comments about former scary clientele....? What's the purple onion called now? Or where is the former brothel from Carmen?

 
At 10:44 am, November 23, 2006, Blogger stephen said...

"Platoon" perhaps?

 
At 12:06 pm, November 28, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Stephen: it's not called "Platoon", nor am I aware of anywhere else by that name. Care to enlighten us?

The previous anonymous is definitely getting warm geographically. The "former scary clientele" were not quite as outrageous as you're thinking of, as long as they'd taken their meds. Perhpas if I mention the well-known owner of the building?

 
At 3:37 pm, November 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you sure its not il Bordello ?

 
At 3:55 pm, November 28, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Nope, the staff were friendly and obliging, but not that friendly and obliging!

It's definitely nearby, and in a building that you wouldn't necessarily think of as having a bar.

 
At 5:01 pm, November 28, 2006, Anonymous Simon said...

whatever Mr Rex Nichols establishment is called these days, Treckers or some such?????

 
At 10:22 am, November 30, 2006, Blogger stephen said...

Sorry, Tom.. "platoon" as in "well-lubricated squad (is that the right collective noun?) of rural RSA members".

 

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