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

Monday, July 25, 2005

Underground, overground

This mysterious doorway, with its dark and dungeony appearance, looks strangely out of place amid the fast food and sneakers of Manners Mall. It arrived some months ago, without explanation, prompting rumours of what it would become: a haven for roleplaying gamers? A Tolkein-themed nightclub? A B&D dungeon?

Finally a sign appeared: "The Harem Cafe & Bar. Opening Soon". It probably won't be quite as much fun as the name suggests: I expect a Middle-Eastern themed restaurant and bar, presumably an offshoot of the kebab shop below. I managed to sneak upstairs for a quick look, and the decor is best described as "Aladdin's Cave on acid". Could be worth a look after all.

Continuing the Orientalist theme, the Wellington Workingmen's Club and Literary Institute in Cuba Mall has a liquor license application form on its door, under the name Morocco Bar. Could it be that the venerable watering hole has found a solution to its financial and patronage issues by turning to the exotic allure of hookahs, couscous and mint tea?

The proliferation of upstairs and underground bars (think GoGo, Mercury Lounge, Motel/Chow, Beau Monde, Monkey Bar, Good Luck) continues with The Cavern, presently just an unassuming doorway between two Asian restaurants in Allen St. There's no word yet as to whether the Beatles will reform for the opening night.


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