From laundrette to late-night venue: Laundry
On the funkiest street in the funkiest town in New Zealand in a former launderette is a bar/eatery/late-night venue that’s become many things, to many people
Over the years the southern end of Cuba Street has been home to beatniks and brothels, student bars and all-day breakfasts. While it has evolved over the last few years, it still has a come-as-you-are feel and is home to some of the city’s most glorious nightlife.
At the heart of this nightlife on the corner of Abel Smith and Cuba, is a lime green (like very, very lime green) building, that was formerly a laundrette but is now where you’ll find live hip-hop, DJ culture, soul food and cocktails with a vibe that’s casually hip, relaxed and fun.
Laundry’s manager Lucy Minter describes Laundry as a part-juke joint and part-southern-style ramshackle barrelhouse. “It’s a place where people gather for craft beer, food, music and dancing any night of the week. And at weekends, it gets a bit of a raucous party vibe in the wee small hours” she says.
Local legend, DJ and music writer, Martyn Pepperell agrees. “When they party, they party till close.” But Martyn sees the late-night party vibe as one that’s unique to Cuba Street. “Laundry has one of the most open-minded audiences in the capital. Where else are you going to get a late-night dancefloor going for some Caribbean disco or Japanese City-Pop?” Martyn says.
To fuel the dancefloor antics, Laundry puts on excellent kai. They’ve won Visa Wellington On a Plate’s coveted Burger Wellington competition three times, and you’ll find the winning burgers on the menu still. You’ll also find Southern-style comfort food like gumbo and Cajun-style fish and some dishes with a vegan twist, like meat-free pulled pork and chilli – all finished off with a slice of Aunt Pearl’s hot apple pie. Drinks-wise, there’s local craft beers on tap or try Laundry’s ‘Skinny witches’ hibiscus margarita if you’re looking for a little pep.
It’s clear when you visit Laundry is that it isn’t just one thing. Laundry is not just a restaurant or bar or a nightclub – it’s many different things to many different people. It’s a hub for the local community that welcomes everyone in for quiz nights, date nights, birthday dinners or an old-fashioned night out with mates.
When Laundry was a laundrette, it was famous for its truly terrible customer service, but it served the community for many years. Now in its new life, Laundry continues to play an important role in serving the community - except now the service is famously good.
Where else are you going to get a late-night dancefloor going for some Caribbean disco or Japanese City-Pop?