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The LOOP Emailer of the Wellington scene
17 March 2000

Festival Time!
Wednesday Night Fever
Cafe Update
New CEO for BSC


The NZ Festival 2000 and Wellington Fringe have made their usual impact on the capital - and with the city finally getting some summer-y weather, a rollicking old time is being had all round. Lots of people wandering around with maps. Heaps of people outside Farmers Cuba Mall watching the Urban Dream Capsule do their stuff. And busy times in many of the city's cafes, restaurants and bars.

On the strategic corner of Cuba and Wakefield Streets, Felix recently had its biggest day ever, helped along no doubt by the roll-down see-through protective tent awnings that extend their useable outdoor space.

Across the bridge on Frank Kitts Park, there has been regular queuing outside the fabulous Dans Paleis - the century-old wooden tent from Belgium. Great venue, even if the continual evening entertainment (including the likes of Nathan Haines and Tim Finn) is cutting numbers at other local entertainment-providing bars.

Opening night requests for a vodka lime and soda were countered with the information that not only was cranberry not on offer, but nor was lime (an edict from the major sponsor said one bar staffer very strange). That situation seems to have been remedied, and the Dans Paleis and Fringe Club (Sunset Palms, Tory Street) are the key hangouts for late-night after-show schmoozing - for another couple of weeks anyway.


Readers with memories stretching back to the 80s when even the unemployed could afford to go out and party may recall Tuesday nights at Exchequers up Plimmers' Steps: crowds of people drinking dollar dazzlers and dancing the night away.

These days there's a whole group of people focused on low-end cheap drinking and most of them seem to head out on Wednesday nights. The main action zones offering budget drinking and attracting hordes of young 'uns are Zebo's, Faultline and the Fat Ladies' Arms - and with the latter two just across the road from each other in Dixon Street, that central city area has become a rowdy zone. At least it keeps all the rabble in one place.

Last Wednesday was busy in other venues as well. Radio Active 89FM launched their new Pulsate Activecard at Vespa Lounge. The card is a snappy plastic item allowing discounts and concessions, opportunities to win prizes, and phone credits from the Yabba Calling Card service, and a gallery of semi-famous faces turned up for the launch, to chugalug the free grog and schmooze the night away.

Later on, the Matterhorn was packed with a head-nodding crowd enjoying the sounds of Nuvonesia in the outdoor garden bar area. This trio sees long-time collaborators Mark de Clive-Lowe (keyboards, production) and turntablist Manuel Bundy allying with fresh MC Imon Star for a blend of jazz, dub, drum and bass... all that groovy stuff. Matterhorn owner Leon Surynt was worried about the newly landscaped garden area getting damaged, but we couldn't get close enough to se if our suggestion of electric fencing was taken up.


Taking a cue from the successful FUEL chain of standup coffee outlets is the latest addition to the city's cafe scene. The Coffee Spot, installed next to Wildflowers by the Manners Street Post Office is notable for the aquarium built into the frontage - echoing the one in the excellent new bar at Logan-Brown in Cuba Street. Go fish!


for the Beer Wine and Spirits Council. Congratulations to Nikki Stewart!


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