Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bar Edward- My Lost Local

Every now and then the topic of the local arises on beer blogs. When ever this happens I feel a tinge of sadness that the best I can do is the bar in my lounge, now this of course isn’t all bad, friends come round on Thursday nights, and the bar is used by flatmates for drinking and eating the rest of the time, the beer is pretty good and if its not there’s only myself to blame and at the end of a session I have a treacherous 5 metre journey to my bed. It is however not the same as a real local where you have the potential to meet new people and rub shoulders with those you wouldn’t normally.

I did used to have a local, one of the best in the country. Before buying my house in the hills I used to live in Newtown, a formally working class suburb of Wellington that over the years has experienced some gentrification and now boasts an ethnically diverse melting pot of students, council tenement residents, young professionals and mental patients. In the middle of all this fusion sits Bar Edward, a free house pouring a wide range of beer from New Zealand’s top independent breweries. I returned to Bar Ed last night for the monthly Society Of Beer Advocates pub meet, it felt good to be back.

When I first moved to Newtown Bar Ed was just finding its feet, but already Emerson’s Bookbinder was on tap along side the characterless national Montieths brands from DB. Soon the number of taps was increased and the DB beers disappeared. Today you can walk in on any given day and find beers from Emerson’s, Tuatara, Founders, and Invercargill Brewing Company on tap. The bottled selection includes several vintages of Thomas Hardy’s Ale, a range of Belgians and many bottled New Zealand beers.

Beer alone of course doesn’t make a local. Bar Edward has a chilled out atmosphere most the time where people come for a drink and a chat, or just to watch a big game in the company of ones neighbours rather than in the solitude of the lounge.

After walking up to the Rice Bowl Chinese Takeaway last night for my post session sweet and sour, the sky erupted in monsoon like rain and thunder and lightning, I couldn’t help but think had I still lived around the corner I would have been dry in bed by now.


Stonch said...

That's a great piece of writing.

Stu as "Stu" said...

Great piece on a great bar.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the beer I think the mark of a good local, or any pub for that matter, is the ability to walk in and feel welcomed no matter if it's your 1st or 1001st time through the doors. Bar Edward seems, from your review, to be one of those places.

Anonymous said...

You inspired me! I’ve lived in Wellington for almost two years and only had one abortive attempt at visiting the bar so my wife and i went yesterday...I had a great time, the barman and in fact everyone there was friendly, there was a little bit of ribbing going on because i was wearing my England rugby shirt but considering we actually made it through to the final there's not much that could be said really. I had the ever great bookbinder and then asked if i could try the Invercargill pitch black, the barman was accommodating, i bought a pint of it and then he offered to allow me to try the cider on tap as well....needless to say i accepted! We sat back, ate our pork scratchings and enjoyed the atmosphere…nuff said!

Kieran Haslett-Moore said...

Thats fantastic.

The Pitch Black was tasting the best I have ever tasted it last week.