Friday April 25, 2014
01:55 NZT

Bar Nun

The Bar Nun could very well be making her devotions at your shop in the near future!
Her mission from grill ... to test the vocation of her lay brothers and sisters in the sacred art of mixology and its trappings.

Two Wellington establishments – the old school and the new school PDF Print E-mail

 Old school – The Southern Cross

The Southern Cross has been wetting Wellingtonians’ whistles through a variety of incarnations over the past 100 years, immortalised in song and local memory.

The City – Down and Out PDF Print E-mail

DOWN – AGENTS & MERCHANTS, RACKET AND 1885 – The same but different

The Bar Nun made nice noises in grill’s Winter issue about the admirable attributes of Christchurch’s Cartel. So in an attempt to relive that pleasant experience the nun slid DOWNtown to Cartel’s Auckland sister bars situated in sneaky Roukai Lane in the Britomart precinct.

Southern Hospitality – a conversion PDF Print E-mail

The Bar Nun takes the mission to the mainland.

Rakinos PDF Print E-mail

An Island Sanctuary

A hundred paces away, I take refuge in Rakinos. Interesting and creative cocktails are on offer with pagan names like Voodoo Child and Monkey Boy, however it’s a huge relief not to have to stick my tongue down the barman’s ear canal in order to tell him what I wish to drink. The décor is understated and tasteful; artwork on the walls, I’m told, is predominantly produced by staff members. The congregation is well settled and relaxed; clearly enjoying themselves and each other’s company; it’s a pleasure to be able to hear myself think and kick back in such welcoming, unpresumptuous surroundings.

Cassette PDF Print E-mail

War Party

Every ‘Cool Kid’ has been saying I should make a pilgrimage to Cassette, but I’m starting to wish I hadn’t listened. Every punter in the place is throwing themselves willy nilly in front of my companion sister Alexandra’s camera – they seem to be under the illusion that we are here to publish these images in some rag’s social pages, accompanied by witty captions in praise of the scene. Sorry muppets. 
Actually, the club is more impressive when it’s empty. The decor is really quite striking, capitalising on the notion that the ’90s are now ‘retro’ in (dare I say it) almost tasteful and definitely wonderfully creative fashion. But in full swing, stuffed to the gunwales with town rats, the music is terrible and far too loud, the smoking balcony cramped and the clientele trashy – I must fight my way to the edge in order to breathe some air, ducking and diving to avoid getting stabbed in the eye with Marlboro Lights. Someone even ashed down the back of my surplice in the confusion. 
In fairness, Cassette is packed to full capacity on a Wednesday night and the queue is stretching down the street, patiently waiting in the pouring rain for a chance to be seen inside. Clearly, the bar appeals to this demographic; and by appearances it’s a demographic that spends, so full marks for something, sure, but I won’t be coming back. As my companion put it: “It’s like the indies became the preppies of Auckland… and this is where they come to breed.”
Good business if you can get it.

Lazy Sunday Afternoon PDF Print E-mail

The Good Lord taught us that Sunday is to be a day of rest and, as is our habit, having paid Her our usual morning homage the Nun and her sisters headed off in search of early afternoon communion.

We hadn’t gone far when some brightly coloured flags led us up the garden path to the entrance to the club house at the Waiheke Golf Course. The sisters, of course, have limited experience of golf courses and, in particular their 19th holes, but we liked what we heard emanating from this rather modest looking establishment.

“Jazz and Blues in the Vines” was the event and while there weren’t any vines and not a lot of blues, there was no mistaking the quality of the jazz in the hands of the very polished Phil Broadhurst and his band of talented and good looking young lads.

While nothing, of course, can get the blood pumping as much a rousing hymn,there's also a lot to be said for whiling away a few hours listening to the soothing sounds of one the country’s leading jazz pianists and composers interspersed with the occasional ping of a golf ball and a happy bird song or two.

Also on display was Waiheke’s answer to Sarah Vaughan, local resident Briar Ross who has been a driving force behind these “Jazzy Sundays”, along with the fine ivory and vocal skills of jazz diva Julie Mason. And all this for a modest entry fee of $15 – the sisters couldn’t believe their luck.

The Waiheke Golf Club, which has been hosting a variety of groups every Sunday afternoon in February and March, had done a fair job of turning its “19th” into an indoor/outdoor bar complete with sizeable outdoor tables and umbrellas for those wanting to make the most of a gorgeous afternoon.

The tapas was nothing special and somewhat overpriced at $20 a plate, but we were reliably informed by Sister Antionette that the locally grown olives were of a good standard. There appeared to be a good selection of reasonably priced beer although, not unexpectedly, the wine list was not extensive. The Nun, who has developed quite a pallet for red wine from many years of communion, almost created a scene by declaring her first glass to be “off” and demanding another. After some initial reluctance, the bar attendant came to the party and we settled in for a lazy and increasingly hazy Sunday afternoon.

All up, a good effort by the Waiheke Golf Club and Briar and her enthusiastic band of helpers to open up another venue for Auckland’s many talented jazz musicians.

Wellington PDF Print E-mail

What is it about Wellington? The nightlife in this town puts to shame anything Auckland has to offer. Stray away from Courtenay Place, overpopulated as it is with collared polos, too-short frocks and aggressive taxi drivers, and bask in the character of Cuba Street where the echoes of the counterculture lurk between the cobbles and you'll hear the newest tunes spun masterfully by the best DJs in town.
Despite its questionable reputation, Cuba is in fact the more sophisticated hangout. You'll make friends; guaranteed.

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