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

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mystery bar number 30

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Right, that's enough serious council-related malarkey for one week. Time for a bar!

I've already mentioned that last week's mystery bar was Scopa, which opened last week on the site of the ill-fated Rouge. The Bresolin boys have pared back the decor and broadened the appeal, serving everything from breakfast to eaux-de-vie. Or eaux-de-vie for breakfast, if you're so inclined. I thought at first that it would be more of a café than a bar, but then at 10pm on Monday night there was a table of people knocking back Sambucca shots, so I guess it counts as a bar.

Mystery bar #30 - entranceThis week's mystery bar didn't exactly impress me as much. It gives the impression of trying to be upmarket, but the decor is stuck in the eighties, and not in a glam way either: there's a lot of pastel and brass. It's comfortable enough, and there was live music when we visited, but all this does is lull you into a false sense of security. The sort of security that makes you think, "This place should be able to make a decent Martini".

And how wrong you would be. The staff were earnest and pleasant, but had clearly not only never made a Dry Martini before, but had only vaguely ever heard of one. They knew enough not to just serve up a glass of Italian vermouth, but the result was little better. After carefully specifying gin and asking for a 5-to-1 ratio (best not to attempt anything too dry in such a place, I then had to carefully explain to the incredulous bartender that no, I didn't mean 5 parts vermouth to one of gin, but the other way around.

Mystery bar #30 - the barThis seemed to evoke severe cognitive dissonance in the poor bartender, and I eventually managed to end up with something neither shaken nor stirred, but that at least had slightly more gin than vermouth. Well, I presume it was gin, but I couldn't tell, and didn't want to know, what brand of gin was involved: it was poured from an invisible dispenser above the bar. To top it off, three large ice cubes were plonked into the Martini glass, resulting in something that bore as little resemblance to a Dry Martini as the membership of Waterfront Watch does to the clientele of Havana. I managed to force down a couple of sips before giving up, and when I next get around to updating my Martini reviews, this will receive a very generous 2 out of 10. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you: the worst Martini in Wellington.


At 3:32 pm, May 12, 2006, Blogger Miramar Mike said...

Ha ha ha ha ha ... this should be a new venue on the nightly visit BECAUSE the martini was so bad.

I can't wait to find out (please post before June 10th as I'm up then) and go ... I WILL be asking for a Martini a la Tom

At 4:55 pm, May 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 ? you gave it a TWO ? doesn't your scale go into negative?

At 5:01 pm, May 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ummmm, what is that Thing on the wall by the bar? Near the column? sort of plaited treeroot perhaps?

It's scary !!

At 5:28 pm, May 12, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it that bar in the West Plaza on Wakefield St? Gibbons Bar?

At 6:17 pm, May 12, 2006, Blogger the_sifter said...

JJ is right - it is that vile place.

And I fully agree with you Tom - I had the worst Martini of my life there in 1994.

(My parents were staying at the hotel at the time. I've never set foot in there since...)

At 1:03 pm, May 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That doesn't cut it compared with the worst Martini in New Zealand - served at Iguacu in Parnell. The bartender looked vaguely pissed off by the order, but threw together some unkonwn gin & vermouth in a highball glass, with ice and a slice of lemon (bartender obviously thought this was a twist). When it was rejected out of hand, the JAFA bartender stuck his finger in the drink to taste it and wondered aloud what the problem was.

At 8:16 pm, May 14, 2006, Blogger Miramar Mike said...

...bartender stuck his finger in the drink to taste it... - now that is true class

At 3:36 pm, May 15, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

JJ ans Sifter: bang on. You'd think a bar named after an ape would be more fun!

Anon 1: it would have to have no alcohol to score below zero.

Anon 2: it's a brass gateway between the lobby and the main bar, with a pot plant behind it. Either that, or the Triffids are coming.

Anon 3: funnily enough, I had exactly the same experience at exactly the same place. The barman's reaction was due to the outburst from the person that I was with: "You call that a twist?!?" Sounds like a catchphrase to me :-)


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