Waterfront tweaks: Taranaki St Wharf
As much as we Wellingtonians are happy to live in a "cold-yet-cultural" city, most of us would have to admit that this "summer" has been pretty gruelling. Which is why yesterday, with it's balmy temperatures and spectacular sunset, seemed to switch so many of us into outdoors mode for one delicious evening. Most of Waitangi Park was humming by about 5:30, but even though the lawn was relatively dry and looking sweetly bucolic with its lush grass and clover, it had attracted a grand total of eleven people, mostly on the berms around the edge.
At the same time, there must have been about five times that number on the relatively tiny patch of grass at Taranaki St Wharf. Some of them were just sitting and relaxing, or throwing around a frisbee, but the majority were patrons of St Johns bar, which was so popular that all the chairs were taken.
Around the corner, the same had happened to the Brewery Bar (despite being in the shade), and drinkers were taking advantage of the lengths of wharf timber for informal seating. There was only one of these beside St Johns, and while many punters seemed happy enough to sprawl on the grass with a pint of Weissbier or a bottle of wine in an ice bucket, some more informal public seating wouldn't have gone amiss. I know the lawn is only temporary, and the final design will have more of a slope and some seating, but in the meantime how about dragging a few lumps of timber around the corner to create somewhere to sit? I'm not sure whether all this drinking on the grass is even legal, given licensing restrictions and liquor bans, but it's a most civilised way to drink, and showed the public and private realms blending together very nicely.
Incidentally, while it was definitely mojito weather, the barman was very apologetic about the state of their mint, so I tried a Moscow Mule instead and accepted his suggestion of a dollop of honey. Fantastic! St Johns may have a bit of noisy, suity reputation, but on a day like this its location and quality can't be beaten.