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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.
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!
Georgia meets maker and baker Brigid of Milk Crate cafe.