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

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Mystery bar number 36

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Okay, last week's mystery bar was way too easy: it's Electric Avenue in Courtenay Place, which has just opened in the two storey building vacated by Saffron last year. Most bars go for a stealthy approach when they're under renovation, keeping their windows papered over until the opening, but Electric Avenue took the unusual approach of actually displaying architectural plans and sketches, so we all had a fair idea of how it would look when it opened. So, now we have an Eighties bar: hooray.

Today's mystery bar doesn't have as explicit a theme as that, though its food is mostly from a specific part of the world. They've done a reasonably good job of making a potentially sterile space feel quite homely, and while the furnishings are very basic, they're turning that into a virtue by emphasising their casual, unpretentious attitude. This is emphasised by the soundtrack: while they play a bit of the usual "downbeat" compilations, they also play some of the rarer blues, gospel and jazz tracks that inspired them.

It's still evolving as a bar, and they didn't seem quite organised enough for me to attempt a Martini. They will be serving some cocktails in carafes, which could be a major drawcard, and while they have only a very basic winelist, they serve a couple of beers that are slightly out of the ordinary. Generally, though, I get the impression that they're expecting their main point of difference to be their hearty late-night snacks, and that'll make a nice change from the usual kebabs and burgers!


At 11:46 am, July 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so what was the answer Tom? Brixton or B'ham?

At 11:58 am, July 13, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

I've always assumed it was the Brixton one, and Wikipedia (which is always, accurate, right?!?) agrees. There has been some debate on the subject on that contentiously-named website "Birmingham: It's Not Shit".

At 7:55 am, July 14, 2006, Blogger Hadyn said...

I now know what the mystery bar is but I am sworn to secrecy.

I can say that the food is awesome (and very cost-efficient) and the service is SO friendly.

When the location is revealed I fully reccommend going along to try it out.

The carafe of margheritas was good too.

ps. I have no idea how to spell margheritas

At 10:59 am, July 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another newbee restaurant...., Damit the name escapes me, is it 'mama's Kitchen' or some such, down the bottom of Courtenay Place next to Calzone....Either way for the price the food was great!

At 12:36 pm, July 14, 2006, Blogger s. said...

I concur with simon. The only thing that view out the window can be is the PO Box lobby you have to walk through to get to the 'rest-room'.

At 1:04 pm, July 14, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Yup, it's "Sweet Mother's Kitchen", where Cinta Malaysia was until very recently. I thought at first that it was a bit of a stretch calling it a "bar", but they're planning to be open to 3am at weekends, mostly to keep the drunken masses fed with Po'boys and tacos, but definitely with alcohol in mind. I haven't tried the chilli beer yet, but one day...

Hadyn, I think it's "Margaritas". "Margherita" is the pizza topping. Though come to think of it, a margarita pizza could be interesting, if you could keep the tequila from spilling off.

At 10:54 am, July 17, 2006, Blogger s. said...

Weren't bloody open at 12.30am on Sunday, were they :(

At 1:38 pm, July 17, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Well, they did say "planning to" be open 'til 3. It looks like they're still getting set up, and maybe they have opened a bit too early. Sometimes it's good when a bar or restaurant allows itself to evolve as demand dictates, but then again, it can raise false expectations.


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