New Zealand Blazing Trail on Global Cocktail Path

“With its bordello-meets-street-art décor, Napier’s Monica Loves bar has all the trappings of a modern speakeasy, the kind you’d find down a London alley or behind an unmarked door in the East Village,” the Boston Globe’s Liza Wiesstuch reports for an article on the craft cocktail scene in New Zealand.

“The Celery Mare (gin, cucumber, lime, cracked pepper, elderflower liqueur, and tonic) – is just as intriguing as anything offered at celebrated hipster haunts in Brooklyn or San Francisco,” Weisstuch writes.

“Most people go to New Zealand seeking the quietude of nature trails or a wild adrenalin rush. But neither serenity nor a thrill ride were of interest to me. In the land of what oenophiles declare one of the planet’s most exciting emerging wine regions, I was on the prowl for cocktails. What I found along my tippling trail through the country was an assortment of passionate creative types blazing a path that puts this far-flung nation on the ever-expanding global cocktail map.

“[In Christchurch post-earthquake] the landscape is still a constellation of construction sites, but between new, engaging public art installments, huge murals, and a few shiny new buildings, the thrill of rebirth is palpable. That comes into stark relief at Dux Central, an expansive, sleek dining and drinking destination that opened in September. The spacious pub-like Brew Bar offers almost 200 beers, the more posh Emerald Room is a wine haven and there’s an upper level focused on dining.

“I’d been tipped off to an intimate cocktail bar on the premises, but making my way through the boisterous bi-level courtyard, it seemed unlikely I’d find a quiet space anywhere nearby. But around the corner was a lone door with a light globe above. Charles Gillet, the jovial bartender and manager, proved me wrong when he welcomed me to the antique-chic Poplar Social Club.”

Weisstuch also recommends Wanaka’s LaLaLand and Queenstown’s “boutique rum bar” Habana and The Bunker.

Original article by Liza Weisstuch, The Boston Globe, July 8, 2016.

Tags: Boston Globe (The)  Brew Bar  cocktails  Emerald Room  Habana  LaLaLand  Monica Loves  Poplar Social Club  The Bunker  

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