The prohibition is over with the opening of the slinky, speakeasy cool of O.G.B Bar & Café resplendently housed in the grand, sandstone glory of the iconic, heritage-listed Old Government Building (see what they did there?) that’s perched on the corner of Cathedral Square.
Welcoming you with the mint, Bugsy Malone-style Austin out front, O.G.B is perfectly-placed and tricked out for a sophisticated snifter, late night bite, brekkie (from 6.30am) or bowling up to the Square’s only window bar, where retro-hip bar staff rocking suspenders and bowlers dispense classic cocktails, an international round-up of tap beers (Japan, Denmark, Czech Republic and, a little closer to home, Amberley) and bottled craft beers, Kiwi wines (alongside a few Aussie imports), French bubbles, and an intriguing selection of ‘interesting reds’ ideal for exploring over the colder months.
Resplendent in retro-cool with swag for days, the dark wood interior beyond the funky green velvet curtains is punctuated by polished brass wind instruments, an anachronistic array of pristine prohibition-era memorabilia and a set of ol’ skool mics begging for some Nina Simone-esque Mississippi swamp action. A stately light hangs low over the bar, where a glittering top shelf beckons and an old Imperial typewriter displaying the duty manager sits under a hand-cranked phone and the metallic glint of copper tankard mugs, all setting the scene.
Pull up a pew and hang your jacket on the handy hook at your table, or slip into the slick booth seating in this classy newcomer and pour over a menu that features enticing elixirs and eats spanning New York bagels, free range pork terrine, a stellar line up of tasting plates and platters, and some bequiling venison croquettes with a gussied up Kiwi onion dip.
Whether you’re tapping your toes to the live music, watching the evening unfold in the city through the huge windows or simply reliving days gone by – you'll wanna settle in for a night of ol’ skool magic.
O.G.B Bar & Café
28-30 Cathedral Square (The Heritage Hotel)www.ogb.co.nz