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

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

From Arbitrageur to Zibibbo

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First of all, congratulations to David Ritchie for picking Mystery Bar number 15 in what must be record time. It's Brix, which is a fairly non-descript hotel pub saved by a nice view out onto the trees of Willis St and St John's church. I've got to try somewhere trickier next time.

Meanwhile, another David raised the stakes on my New Year's Dissolution by suggesting that I publish my list of all Wellington bars so that I could "issue a challenge to see who can drink a pint or glass of wine in each in the least amount of time". While I generally believe that drinking is far too noble a pursuit to be cheapened by the notion of competition, I like the thought that the nice people at ALAC and Alcohol Healthwatch are probably sputtering into their Virgin Marys at the very thought of it. I still would like to think of this as an exploration rather than a drinking game, but in the spirit of open source, here is the list:
Arbitrageur, Arizona, Atlanta, The Backbencher, Ballroom, Basement, Beau Monde, Beaujolais, The Big Kumara, Bisque On Bolton, The Black Harp, Blend, Blondini's, Blue Note, Bodega, Bohdans, Boogie Wonderland, Boulcott St Bistro, Boulot, Bouquet Garni, Brewery Bar, The Bristol Hotel, Brix, Bull & Bear, Cabaret, Calzone, Cambridge Hotel, Capitol, Caucus, Chameleon, Chicago , Chow, Club K, Concrete, Confidential, Copita, Courtenay Arms, Coyote, Cue Room, Curve Bar, Dockside, The Dog & Bone, Dojo, Downtown Local, The Dubliner, East West, Eclipse, Endup, The Establishment, The Feathers, Ferrymans, Floriditas, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Front Room, Gibbon's Bar, GoGo, Good Luck, Green Room, The Grill at Duxton Hotel, Happy, Harem, Havana, Hog's Breath, Hope Bros, Hotel Bristol, Hotel Willis Lodge, Hugos, Hummingbird, Il Casino Piano Bar, Imbibe, Indigo, J'Aime Bordeaux, Jet, The Jimmy, JJ Murphy's, Juniper, Kazu, Kitty O'Shea's, The Lab, The Lab Underground Bar, The Last Supper Club, Latino's, Leuven, Liquidate, The Loaded Hog, Logan Brown, Lone Star, Lone Star Lounge, Lovelocks, Lumiere, The Malthouse, Matterhorn, Maya, Medina, Mercury Lounge, Mezzaluna, Milk, Mini Bar, Mixjah, Mojo Invincible, Molly Malones, Monkey Bar, Monsoon Poon, Morocco, Motel Bar, Neat, Occidental, One Red Dog (Blair St), One Red Dog (Kumutoto), Paradiso Bar, The Pit, Play, Pod, Ponderosa, Pound, Pravda, The Quarter, Rain, Red Square, Restaurant 88, Rouge, Sandwiches, Seam, The Shack, Shed 5, Shooters, Sojourn, Southern Cross, Sovereign, The Speight's Ale House, Stadium Bar, Stage, Stellar, Subnine, The Syn Bar, Taste of Korea, The Tasting Room, The Old Bank, The Thistle Inn, Toast, Trax, Tupelo, UU, Valve, Vespa Lounge, Vivo, Wasabi Sushi, Wellington Sports Cafe, Welsh Dragon Bar, West Plaza Hotel, The White Room, Zibibbo

The more observant among you may have noticed that this doesn't quite add up to the 154 that I mentioned earlier. That's because there's a handful of bars that are still under construction or just rumoured to be opening soon, and I want to keep them to myself for now, as potential mystery bars. Selfish? Perhaps, but I think a sense of enigma is important in life, and I don't want to spoil all the surprises.

Some of the above may no longer exist (I haven't quite finished the "ground truthing"), and a few are only debatably "bars", but as I said, I tend to err on the side of inclusiveness. Here's my progress so far:
Atlanta, Blend, The Brewery Bar, Brix, Floriditas, Hope Bros, JJ Murphy's, Kazu, The Last Supper Club, Liquidate, Matterhorn, One Red Dog (Kumutoto), The Quarter, The Tasting Room

I'd originally included Shed 5 and Coyote, but since I just had coffee and brunch respectively, those visits don't really count. Which means I have to go back to Coyote. Shudder.


At 4:10 pm, January 11, 2006, Blogger Martha Craig said...

Couldn't it just be first to get to them all? Seems there have to be some advantages to being a frequent drinker. And it seems like madness to RE-visit Coyote.

At 4:57 pm, January 11, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

We only went to Coyote because it was far too early on New Year's Day and there were bugger all places open for breakfast. Eat at home? That's crazy talk!

Anyway, the staff were unbelievably surly, either because they couldn't go out for New Year's Eve, or because they did and were incredibly hungover. They completely forgot about my girlfriend's coffee, and when we reminded them, they forgot again! Come on, people, surely time and a half plus a day in lieu is worth a semblance of a smile and a hint of competence?!

At 3:26 am, January 12, 2006, Blogger David said...

Bonus points for visiting them in alphabetical order?

That'd be a great test of navigation AND drinking skills, with the former decreasing as you exercised the later.

At 10:30 am, January 12, 2006, Blogger s. said...

What about chronologically, or auto-biographically, a la John Cusack's record re-ordering in High Fidelity. Or some kind of uber-faux-academic tip, like ethno-musicologically.

At 12:34 pm, January 12, 2006, Blogger the_sifter said...

How about in a single (prolonged!) session? Now that's fighting talk!


At 2:01 pm, January 12, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Ah Sifter, I think that even a highly-trained elite drinking squad consisting of George Best, Dylan Thomas and Winston Peters (not Blumsky - he's just an amateur) would have trouble doing that. Even at only one standard drink per bar, that's 154 standard drinks, which the monks at ALAC claim should take over 7 weeks to finish.

David & Stephen: those are interesting suggestions, and I had considered some sort of arbitrary ordering, but I'll largely take an ad hoc approach. On the other hand, I am making an effort to start off with ones that I wouldn't normally go to (Liquidate, The Quarter) as I'm bound to hit plenty of my old haunts as normal social life resumes post-Xmas.

I did once think of a "round the world" bar crawl based upon the namesake locations of bars that are named after places (Atlanta, Matterhorn, Havana, Red Square etc). Plot the namesakes on a world map, find the shortest route around the world, and drink in the bars in that order. I think a lot of zig-zagging would be involved.

I'm up to 15 now, not helped by a barless (though not drinkless - Riesling and Rosé at the Soundshell) night last night. That's taken me 12 days, but it's been a quiet time in Welly and I haven't had a proper bar-crawl yet. Still, there's always the weekend: anyone up for a safari?

At 2:59 pm, January 12, 2006, Blogger s. said...

That round-the-world idea is BRILLIANT. Go for it, i say.

So you soundshelled it last night too, eh? Nice one. Very pleasant, despite the cold wind. And the emcee.

Good on Wellingtonians for turning out in their 1000s on a less-than-perfect evening. Not like some people who could (and probably should) be named!

My answer to most issues of cold and discomfort is just to consume more intoxicating substances. A little simplistic, I grant, but it does the trick.

At 11:40 pm, January 12, 2006, Blogger David said...

The round the world theme would mean you'd have to turn up to each in national dress. Of course.

At 1:32 pm, January 13, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

National dress, eh? Atlanta and Chicago would be pretty dull, Red Square and Matterhorn would only be practical on a cold night, and at The Bristol you'd just end up making a tit of yourself.

At 6:51 pm, March 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might you ass the Paramount's new bar? It's not much but it was swinging during the Fringe Festival. They've got booze now too, but no really trained bartenders. (Full Disclosure: I totally work there.)

At 6:52 pm, March 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HA! Ass! I ment ADD.

At 8:40 am, March 15, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Yes, I've added it to my list, and already been there a couple of times (including the Fringe opening party).

Sometimes it's hard to make a decision about whether to include bars like this that are part of other entities (such as a theatre or hotel). My general guideline is that it's happy to serve people who walk off the street, then it's a bar. On that criterion, the Paramount definitely counts.

At 10:09 pm, August 02, 2006, Blogger Br3nda of coffee.geek.nz said...

you missed Crazy Horse and Sede

(how did hogs breath make the list?)

At 8:55 am, August 03, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Crazy Horse didn't exist back in January when I wrote this. I'm not sure where/what Sede is: Hede, perhaps?

Hog's Breath made the list because I've never been inside so I don't know whether it's a bar yet. Probably not, but I've teneded to err towards inclusiveness until I've actually checked the places out. I still haven't found the courage!

At 7:49 pm, August 03, 2006, Blogger Br3nda of coffee.geek.nz said...

ah.. yeah.. Hede :-)
good sake. (probaby spelt that wrong too)

i votes you remove hog's breath. it's more like Cobb n Co.


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