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11 reasons to go to Golding's

30 Apr 2013 • 8 Comments

Yes folks, the rumours are true: Wellington has a new craft beer bar – Golding's Free Dive down Leeds Street. But why would you go here when there are nearly 20 other good-beer bars to choose from?


It’s down an inner-city lane you hardly ever go down. Leeds Street runs between Dixon and Ghuznee; Six Barrel Soda down one end, the Guava Tree Indian shop at the other.


A Leeds Street landmark is fabulous Pizza Pomodoro, which neighbours Golding’s within the Hannah’s Building complex. A strategic alliance between the two sees pizza delivered to the pub pronto, chosen from a menu chalked up at the bar. As well as pizza delivery, there’s an in-house Reuben sandwich described by Our Canadian Bartender as ‘grunty’. It comes with Marlborough’s inimitable Proper Crisps, that most excellent of local potato snacks.


Golding’s is a free house, which means they can put anything they like on tap, without having to satisfy The Man. We'll drink to that.


But instead of going hell for leather, Golding’s takes the Boozle out of the Bam by offering merely six taps and one hand-pull, which means you could conceivably try everything over the course of an evening (if you drank half-pints, that is…) The oft-changing beer selection is displayed on an analogue cricket scoreboard, lovingly fashioned by the owner, Sean Golding.


Excellent beers are augmented by a select range of wines, by the glass or bottle. There are also ciders chosen by resident super-hero, Cider Man; Six Barrel Soda; and $4 bottomless Supreme coffee from a retro Mocca Master filter machine.


Golding wasn’t always the owner of a free house. He’s a real piece artist, who started his career as a signwriter. Other highlights of his CV centre upon the film industry, in which he was a set-finisher, prop-maker, and bucket cleaner.


Yes, a bucket cleaner. An illuminating art installation in the bar pays homage to this illustrious phase of his career.


But 50-cent bucket lampshades aren’t the only triumph of this thrifty fit-out. Other lampshades look suspiciously like $12 rubbish bins bought from Warehouse Stationery, and we know for a fact that the skis over the bar were salvaged from the Happy Valley tip. It’s enough to give Allistar Cox a conniption!


But the ultimate in Golding’s up-cycling effort has to be the job-lot of swivel chairs that used to grace the casino floors of Auckland’s Sky City. Won at auction for pennies a piece, they were ‘brazenly chosen for comfort over style’. No kidding. Super-ugly brown leather… really?


Indulge in a little swivel action, though, and you’ll spy the ‘Beer is Love’ mural on the back wall. This is the bar’s motto, although we note that the wi-fi password is ‘beardislove’. While beards are no doubt an essential part of the New Zealand craft beer scene, so is the championing of all that is independent, original and local. Golding’s is a case in point.


Located on the ground floor of the residential Hannah’s Building, the bar must impose a 9.30pm curfew after which punters must withdraw indoors from the small but colourful (and non-smoking) balcony. But with such a fun and cosy interior, one can’t imagine this will be a problem, especially as the winter nights draw in.

goldings 4 300x240


I know we said 11, but we'll sneak in one more. Beer is not only love, it's love handles. Here's to a lovely warm winter! Cheers!



Golding's Free Dive is one of Wellington's newest craft beer bars, paying homage to the neighbourhood bars of North America and Europe.

Add your comment

  • Geoff Griggs 12/05/2014 8:57pm (4 years ago)

    Proper crisps are from Nelson.

  • Noa 10/09/2013 11:05am (4 years ago)

    its a regular haunt for us, love the pizza and beers... Hayley is a great bar host too! I often go for lunch and they sometimes don the lights on low for added atmosphere...nice!

  • maarie 22/08/2013 9:13pm (4 years ago)

    love Golding's. the staff are so friendly and happy to give tasters of all the amazing beer offerings, the recycled/upcycled decor is fun, and there is always a good mix of people. the reuben is indeed a serious sandwich, and am looking forward to coming back for some pizza pomodoro and matching beer choices!

  • hambone 05/06/2013 1:46pm (5 years ago)

    Wow, what a cool wee place and thanks for the heads up on this. The fit out is really quirkly and works really well and the beer list is terrific. Oh, and did I mention the Pomodoro pizzas! Most excellent

  • Sean G 05/06/2013 9:46am (5 years ago)

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for your feedback, we do try to muster the crowd inside with as much respect as we can and I apologise if you felt you were been not asked politely.

    The curfew has to be strictly adhered to as my license is in direct jeopardy if I don't. I need to look after my neighbours and can not take the risk that some groups will not care about their noise levels.

    There are signs in place now to give our patrons notice of the curfew, this seems to help.

    Once again, thanks for your feedback.

  • JimB 17/05/2013 12:36pm (5 years ago)

    Great place with very good vibe. Small enough that things won't get out of hand like in some retro bars up the coast.

    But, why was the curfew applied so inappropriately, and heavily-handed that legitimate, and quiet activities were suffocated?

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