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

Friday, November 03, 2006

Mystery bar number 48

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I underestimated you. Or perhaps overestimated you. I thought that last week's mystery bar would not be the sort of place that sophisticated, literate urbanites like yourselves would recognise with any ease, and yet it was identified within two hours as The Shack in The Oaks complex. I suppose, though, that a dedicated drinker should consider the whole world of bibulous experience open to him or her, and in the spirit of Terence would have to say "Blotto sum: alcoholico nil a me alienum puto".

Mystery bar #48 - tables This one should be pretty straightforward. While it's not exactly a sports bar, it has sporting connections, and its attempts at "urban cool" are let down somewhat by a plethora of projection screens showing rugby league. On the other hand, the designers have gone all-out to achieve the "wow" factor, much more so than this sort of establishment normally attempts, and I think they've achieved it. The swooping ceiling elements, faceted wall panels and ever-changing coloured lights create a sensory overload that could be either invigorating or irritating, depending upon your mood.

While there's a reasonable attempt to engage with the street, most of the action happens deep in the bowels of the place. And it certainly does go deep: it's a bit like a Tardis, since even though it looks substantial enough from outside, it goes much further back than seems physically possible. Combine this with the changes in level, island bar, booths, ramps and private room, and in the dark and noisy atmosphere it can seem vast and labyrinthine.

It seems to have an adequate wine and beer selection, and the inexperienced yet enthusiastic staff made a reasonable attempt at a Martini despite the lack of proper ingredients. There's a full menu as well, but in the end people come here for entertainment rather than food. It's good to have something like this in Wellington, and it makes a great alternative to bog-standard bars.

Mystery bar #48 - the main bar


At 3:34 pm, November 03, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sports Cafe in Courtney Place?

At 4:02 pm, November 03, 2006, Blogger Butane Steeple said...

It's the Cross, I heard a rumour that they were putting in heated seats outside can anyone confirm this?

At 4:07 pm, November 03, 2006, Blogger Tom said...

Nope, not the sports cafe or the Cross (which was the Mystery Bar about a year ago after the first round of renovations). I don't know about heated seats there, but they're definitely lit up in all sorts of bright colours.

At 4:59 pm, November 04, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The pub in the old bnz arcade?....

At 12:30 am, November 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The newly-opened The Lanes, I bet.

At 2:23 pm, November 05, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, must be the Lanes. A disappointment from a bowling perspective (not surprising since it's a Bowland, and they hardly go out of their way to provide a good bowling experience) but still worth a look. It's a bit of fun.

I don't fully understand why sport and upmarket have to be incompatible although I accept that this is mostly the case.

The place looks like an acid trip.

Also, the three lanes next to the bar are actually at the same level as the rest of the lanes but crazy optical illusions abound. It does your head in.


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