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

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bar none

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Well, I did it, and only just in time! Several people recognised the interior of the current mystery bar as the old Santa Fe on Taranaki St, but only Perrin identified it as Endup: Wellington's only "day club". Since I visited Curve the night before, that now means that I have had a drink in every bar in central Wellington.

Since I first listed my target bars, I have had to constantly refine and update the list. Partly to keep up with openings and closures, partly to include bars that I'd missed (mostly well-hidden hotel bars) and in a few cases (Hog's Breath, Taste of Korea, The Front Room, Subnine) because I decided they didn't really fit my definition of a "bar". Here, for your dubious edification, is the complete list:
Arbitrageur, Arizona, Atlanta, B4, Backbencher, Ballroom, Basement, Beaujolais, Big Kumara, Bisque On Bolton, The Black Harp, Blend, Blondini's, Blue Note, Bodega, Bohdans, Boogie Wonderland, Boulcott St Bistro, Boulot, Breakers, Brewery Bar, The Bristol, Brix, Bull & Bear, Cabaret, Calzone, Cambridge Hotel, Capitol, Caronia, Caucus, The Cavern Club, Chameleon, Chicago, Chow, Club K, Concrete, Confidential, Copita, Courtenay Arms, Coyote, Crazy Horse, Cue Room, Curve, Dockside, The Dog & Bone, Dojo, Downtown Local, The Dubliner, Eclipse, Electric Avenue, Endup, Ernesto, Establishment, The Feathers, Ferrymans, Floriditas, Flying Burrito Brothers, Gibbon's Bar, GoGo, Good Luck, Green Room, The Grill at Duxton, Happy, Harem, Havana, Hawthorne Lounge, Hope Bros, Hotel Willis Lodge, Hugos, Hummingbird, Imbibe, Imerst, J'aime Bordeaux, Jet, The Jimmy, JJ Murphy's, Juniper, Kazu Yakitori and Sake Bar, Kitty O'Shea's, The Lab, The Lab Underground, The Last Supper Club, Latinos, Leuven, The Lido, Liquidate, The Loaded Hog, Logan Brown, Lone Star, Lone Star Lounge, Lovelocks, The Malthouse, Matterhorn, Maya, Medina, Mercure Terrace, Mercure Willis, Mercury Lounge, Mezzaluna, Mighty Mighty, Milk, Mini Bar, Ministry Of Food, Mixjah, Mojo Invincible, Molly Malones, Monsoon Poon, Motel, Museum Hotel, MVP, Occidental, The Old Bank Bar & Café, One Red Dog (Blair St), One Red Dog (Kumutoto), Orchid Lounge, Our Bar, Paradiso, Paramount, Parlour Bar, The Pit, Plum (see my update) Pod, Ponderosa, Portland Hotel, Pravda, Rain, Red Square, Sandwiches, San Francisco Bathhouse, Scopa, Seam, The Shack, Shed 5, Shooters, Sojourn, Southern Cross, Speight's Ale House, Spice Island, Sports Cafe, Stadium Bar, Stellar, St Johns, Sweet Mother's Kitchen, Syn, The Tasting Room, The Thistle Inn, Toast, Trax, Tupelo, Urbane, UU, Valve, Vespa Lounge, Vintage, Vivo, The Wellesley Cafe, Welsh Dragon Bar & Scorpio's, Whitbys Piano Bar, Zibibbo, Zing
That's a total of 159 160 bars in about 50 weeks (plus those that I visited before they closed). And yes, at times I did think I was mad to do this (The Lab was one experience I don't care to repeat!), but I think it was worth it. It took me outside of my comfort zone into places I wouldn't normally choose to visit, occasionally providing some pleasant surprises (such as the food at The Black Harp - superb!). I also got so see a broader view of the Wellington bar and pub scene, and sometimes through chatting to bartenders and regulars I heard some very useful gossip. Even the numbing blandness of most hotel bars gave me a not unpleasant sense of transience and placelessness, and helped me to feel like a tourist in my own city.

I'm bound to give myself some other challenge for the new year, preferably one that deepens my experience of Wellington without causing permament liver damage. As yet, I still haven't made up my mind what it will be, but I've still got ten days to decide.


At 8:25 am, December 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressive! One more for you: I just noticed that Plum on Cuba St has reopened with what looks like a full bar...nice.

At 9:49 am, December 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...


i'm glad to say i attended at least one or two of those martini sessions.

At 12:55 pm, December 22, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good effort Tom - I never doubted you ! I'm glad i was able to contribute in some small way (safety in numbers in Monkey ...)

don't think i'll ever attempt the same task in sydney though ... although due to our crappy licencing laws there's probably less turnover in the bar scene here.

not sure about your next challenge ... maybe try the meatpies at every starmart in wellington ??

good luck for next year ...

At 2:39 pm, June 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice effort. One you have missed is the infamous "Sinawe" (opposite Club K, upstairs). Its an asian karaoke bar, good times in there and plenty of booze supplied.

At 2:58 pm, June 22, 2007, Blogger Tom said...

> One you have missed is the infamous "Sinawe"

I did pop in, but it seemed more of a restaurant than a bar so I didn't count it. It's a very fine line sometimes!


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