Category Archives: bars


Location: 30 Arthur Street, between Taranaki Street and Cuba Street), Wellington, New Zealand.


Ambience: Pub-Industrial. Lots of exposed brick and refinished timber plus copper and stainless steel brewing equipment.


Beer selection: The offer is largely confined to the Tuatara range, along with the odd Cider and a guest tap (on this occasion Choice Bros’ Modern Love).



Food: House snacks include nuts, olives, and something called bacon nut spread. Toasted sandwiches and other grilled delicacies are provided by Goose Shack of Berhampore.


Service: The venue is run by the legendary Scott Boswell with assistance from Funk Estate maestro Shiggy (ex-Hashigo Zake) and various others. As we expected, the staff are knowledgable and friendly without exception.


Clientele: Given the proximity to two Universities, there was a surprising lack of students and a preponderance of business dudes when we visited. This may or may not represent a trend.

IMG_2536This is the sort of place: you can watch commuters in mid-existential crisis at the start of the urban motorway.


Special features: A Spartan beer garden where the furniture appears to be made from repurposed pallets. Could be inviting in the right weather. Could be quite jolly at night. Also.

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The Little Beer Quarter, or LBQ, is a self proclaimed ‘beer geek haven’, owned by four beer-loving women. As a fellow blogger thundered when LBQ first opened, ‘take THAT, gender stereotypes’. Indeed.

The Little Beer Quarter, tucked away in the back alleys of the Edward St Precinct.

The Little Beer Quarter, tucked away in the back alleys of the Edward St Precinct.

BEER SELECTION:  LBQ offers 2 handpulls,  14 rotating taps and over 100 beers in the fridge that cover much of the craft beer spectrum, from ‘windswept and interesting’ to ‘fireside beers’, although The Jesuit observed that the selection was perhaps somewhat less ‘exotic’ or ‘off the wall’ than some of their geekier competitors. Their website provides an extensive and helpful list of their offerings.

For the Thirsties, the beer of the night was Yeastie Boys’ White Noise from the handpull – a gentle beer for an equally gentle summer evening.

FOOD: Snacks, bigger snacks and mains including a range of pizzas and burgers, which are served on the buns of the moment, brioche, and with beers to match if desired. LBQ also offers all-manner-of-things battered with beer, including Panhead Port Road Pilsner battered onion rings. The beer battered chips are truly fantastic. Yum.

Who could resist a whole pint o sausage rolls?

Who could resist a whole pint o sausage rolls?

AMBIANCE: Pleasantly Bohemian

Even the loos are stylish - perhaps evidence of female ownership.

Even the loos are stylish – perhaps evidence of female ownership.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES:  Themed bartenders. On the night we visited bedraggled surfer boy chic was the go. Alas, we missed Double Denim night. Sorry, they didn’t stay still long enough for a photo.

LBQ also offers The Cigarro, a shelter for smokers to happily puff away in out of the sun, wind and rain.


CLIENTELE: Very mixed, from suave older suits and office girls drinking glasses of rosé, to care freee, twenty-something couples. Its the sort of place for the young and the restless.

THIS IS THE TYPE OF PLACE YOU DRINK AT WHEN: you’re on a date (a good one, not a bad one). Although, The Little One was disappointed to see that the ‘kissing couch’ had disappeared. Alas, no confessions followed.

A bar for lovers, even the chandelier forms a heart shape at dusk.

A bar for lovers, even the chandelier forms a heart shape.

LBQ: an enclave of urban sophistication amidst the office blocks of Manners and Victoria Streets.

HOURS: Monday – 3:30pm til late, Tuesday – Saturday  – 12 noon til late, Sunday – 3pm til late

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Five Boroughs is a New York styled, neighbourhood ‘deli, diner and dive’ in Mt Victoria. With an exterior hording promising ‘ice cold beer’, the Thirsties squeezed into a booth one sunny January to evening partake in a chilled beer or two.

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The promise…

BEER SELECTION:  ‘Limited’ would be a charitable description of Five Borough’s beer list which comprises four (four!) beers: one Founders beer on tap (a fact also boldly declared on the side exterior), and three Garage Project beers by the can, although one ran out while we were there. The Jesuit swiftly assessed the Founders 2009 IPA as ‘bloody diabolical’, and declared the Garage Project’s Garagista a thousand times better. Apparently Five Boroughs will be adding more choice soon.


The reality: two of the four beers on offer. The Garage Project beers far outshone the Founders offering.

FOOD: American diner fare – burgers, subs and sandwiches, including a version of the ubiquitous Reuben Sandwich.


A tasty classic American cheese burger – a welcome relief amongst the plethora of designer burgers popping up on menus everywhere.

AMBIANCE: A little bit of New York City in Wellington – Travis Bickle and Frank Serpico would drink here.


SERVICE: Generally friendly albeit a little tardy at times

CLIENTELE: Mt Victoria hipsters and their kids

THIS IS THE TYPE OF PLACE YOU DRINK AT WHEN: you want to eat and don’t care about choice.

FIVE BOROUGHS: a long way from beervana.

HOURS: ‘from early to late’

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For 2015 the Thirsties have decided to put more emphasis on documenting the dynamic and burgeoning Wellington craft beer scene more widely. To that end, we will be publishing occasional mini-reviews of bars  in and around Wellington (New Zealand). Our first trial stop, at the end of 2014, was Crafters & Co.


Crafters & Co is located ‘off the beaten track’ in the soon-to-be upgraded desert lands of upper Victoria Street. A bit like the Tardis, it’s bigger and more sophisticated than it looks from the outside, and well worth a visit.

BEER SELECTION:  11 taps plus a walk in fridge crammed full of bottles. Crafters stock a wide selection, with an emphasis on Wellington regional brewers, including Garage Project, Pan Head and Tuatara.

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Crafters offer glass sizes from seven oz (pistol) to a Bavarian (bazooka).

FOOD: Punters can indulge in a range of quality baked goods including cakes and Siggy’s pies, or order from the menu, which includes brioche burgers. Thursday is paella night. (Warning: to Malice’s quiet outrage his cheese scone was served sans jam, however, some of us don’t believe that cheese scones should come with jam).

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For those needing to buy a gift on the way home, Crafters stock a range of local artisanal products including WCF Chocolate, Fix and Fogg peanut butter and moustache wax.

AMBIANCE: a sun-dappled interior in which kegs, maritime memorabilia, bunches of flowers and a showy wooden ceiling happily mix. The café bar features three ambient spaces to suit everything from an intimate date to a group gathering.


Cottage flowers, possibly a unique feature on the Wellington craft beer scene.

DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: operates as an off-licence and doubles as an entrance into Mokomuseum, the national tattoo museum of New Zealand. There is also a door to The Occasional Brewer if you fancy making your own beer rather than simply buying one.

SERVICE: Young, friendly, helpful and beer wise beyond their years.

CLIENTELE: Varied in age, gender and hipsterness

THIS IS THE TYPE OF PLACE YOU DRINK AT WHEN: you knock off early from work for Christmas on a rare beautiful Wellington summer’s day and want to escape Courtenay Place.

CRAFTERS & CO: a very welcome little enclave of Portlandia on the No.7 bus route to Brooklyn.

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A glass of Sly Persuader from the Yeastie Boys’ Spoonbender series with Some Young Punks.

HOURS: 8am-12am Sunday to Thursday,  8am-3am Friday-Saturday.

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My Year of Beer (+ free bonus cake recipe)

Text: The Lady Pie Maker

October marks the first anniversary of the foundation of the Thirstyboys’ Ladies Auxiliary, which means I have  been heading down the stairs to Hashigo Zake most Tuesday evenings for the past 12 months. As such, the Thirsties asked me to reflect on my first year of beer.

While I happily sipped shandies made by my uncle when I was 10, the taste of beer never appealed as I moved into my teens, student years and beyond. Kegs, yard glasses, six packs, pints and halves were all foreign concepts. I grew to look down on beer, and beer drinkers to boot. Tui naturally had a lot to answer for. I thought beer was beer, and I didn’t like it or the culture that surrounded it –  that was until I was lured into Hashigo’s basement one evening by a Thirsty Boy. While I stubbornly clung to my chardonnay at first, eventually I began to brave each week’s new release – a sip here and there, and eventually a half of my very own.

A Singaporean Jungle Beer jolted me to my senses. How surprisingly delicious. I could like beer. I had found my beer, except that it was a one off special keg, so within an hour of being found I was lost again.  A few weeks later a porter by the Garage Project, famously described by the Draughtsman as like ‘drinking a whole f&#%$ Christmas cake’, made me realise I well and truly preferred the dark side to the light.  2013 became the year of the great imperial porter.

On a succession of amiable Tuesday’s, when the topic of conversation is always and often only about beer, I have learned the following:

Beer is not just beer. Beer comes in an amazing array of styles and flavours, and is made from all sorts of weird things from chillies to avocado leaves and weasel poo. Who would have thought?


Weasel poo, or more correctly civet cat poo featuring highly desirable excreted coffee beans.

Despite expanding my drinking horizons considerably, I still don’t like drinking across the spectrum (unlike Malice). I like imperial porters on the whole, and the occasional Saison – which is just a nice word to say as well as tasting a little like chardonnay.

'The Luggage Porter'. Post war tin toy.

‘The Luggage Porter’. Post war tin toy.

On a cautionary note, however, three imperial porters in a row is simply one porter too many. It can only lead to trouble. I am yet to find my sessionable beer.

Beer doesn’t only go with rugby and racing. Beer goes with poetry and great conversation, and best of all – with cheese.

Cover of Rod Derrett’s classic 1965 record, Rugby, racing and beer.

Cover of Rod Derrett’s classic 1965 record, Rugby, racing and beer.

Craft brewers are an inventive, irreverent and interesting breed, culturally engaged and culturally playful. I like it.

blanket man

Wellington in a Pint winners, 2012.

Beer bars no longer have sticky floors, and are pretty convivial places just to be. Some even have flowers.

Mikkeller's Bar in Copenhagen - a fist-banging free space designed by Femme Regionales

Mikkeller’s Bar sans punters – a fist-banging free space designed by Femme Regionales

Beer and style can go together (see Beervana 2013).

Beervana 063

Stephen dressed for a Sherlock adventure at Beervana 2013.

Wine might have legs, but beer has Belgian lace.

Beer makes a mighty fine baking ingredient.

The MightyThirsty Cake, otherwise known as a porter chocolate cake best served with porter syrup and 'clouds' of cream.

The MightyThirsty Cake, otherwise known as a porter chocolate cake best served with porter syrup and ‘clouds’ of cream.

In thanks to my year of beer, here is the recipe for the truly magnificent MIGHTYTHIRSTY CAKE


100 grams each of raisons and dried pitted dates and prunes

250 mls porter beer (I used Three Boys – get a 500ml bottle as you’ll need more later)

2 Tbl brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon


6 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

175 grams caster sugar

200 gram ground almonds

30 grams cocoa, sifted in theory

1/2 tsp Chinese 5 spice

1 tsp baking powder


250 ml Porter beer

160 grams brown sugar

1 cinnamon stick


FRUITY BIT: Chop fruit, pop in a medium sauce pan with other fruity ingrediants. Bring the porter to boil, and simmer for 10 mins, stirring every now and again. Cool for 5 mins and then wizz in a blender. Cool some more.

CAKEY BIT: Whisk eggs, vanilla and sugar in a big bowl and add wizzed fruity mixture. Combine almonds, cocoa, 5 spice, baking powder, and then add to egg/fruit mixture.

Pour into a 22cm spring form tin that has been lined with baking paper. Bake for 40 mins, or until skewer comes out clean, at 170 degrees. Cool in the tin. Pop on a plate.

SYRUPY BIT: Put all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to boil, and stir in the sugar to dissolve. Simmer vigorously for about 10 mins or until reduced and thick and syrupy (this took me more than 10 mins).

HOW TO EAT: Dust the MightyThirsty Cake with icing sugar, and serve each slice with a dollop of whipped cream and a generous splash of syrup. Serves 10 to 12 in theory.

BEER MATCH: Sam from Hashigo Zake, after conducting a professional tasting, recommends pairing your MightyThirsty Cake with a glass of Left Coast Voodoo Stout.

A CAKE YOU EAT WHEN: feeling mighty.

A glass of Voodoo – the perfect MightyThirsty Cake match.


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