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High living and low life in the hospitality capital brought to you by Stella Artois, "serving rogues and knaves since 1366"

Tuesday 24 October


by Mark Cubey

We won the rugby.... we won the rugby....

Not only did Wellington get the best weather, nationwide, on this glorious Labour Weekend, but the Lions did lie down with the Lambs... and gave them a good bollocking.

The only problem was getting to see it.

Not having SKY on tap, most options for experiencing the NPC Final had downsides. Bars with SKY were unlikely to pass air quality standards; delayed telecasts pose problems with avoiding scores (made even more difficult for WAP users); descending on friends involved social obligations that precluded intimacy; and radio listening is an unacceptable compromise of the rugby experience.

In the end we decided on getting a hotel room for the night (always fun in your hometown). The weather demanded a harbour view, but all such rooms at the Museum Hotel were gone. So we settled for the Hotel Raffaele in Oriental Bay. You could do a lot worse.

This Italian-style complex has stunning views, eccentric furnishing - including more mirrors than an upmarket hair salon - and erratic plumbing (on the 7th floor, anyway). The building is to become an residential home, with a planned relocation of the hotel to The Terrace, which perhaps explains why certain aspects have been left to slightly decay: tape on the light fittings, grumbly lifts, low-end toiletries, no ice in the minibar tray, squeaky bed, no breakfast order form etc.

No worries, though. We sipped gins on the balcony, luxuriating in the glory of the capital... and as the sun set over the Kelburn hills, the Wellington Lions commenced to bravely triumph over Canterbury. All was good.

Later, the usual fine dinner at a sparsely patronaged Mondo-Cucina proved that most Wellingtonians do flee the city at Labour Weekend, and a walk back around the Bay reinforced how lucky we are to live in this city.

Despite failing to pre-order breakfast, we were able to secure a lovely mixed grill the next morning, and head off into the rest of the windless, sun-drenched weekend.

Roll on summer!

Yes, tis the season to be jolly etc.

So far this quarter at LOOP, we have received a gift pack of new ready-to-drink Bacardi Breezer (which arrived with one of the dessert-flavour bottles smashed, soaking the monogrammed T-shirt and everything else).

More safely secured was the new fresh-squeezed orange juice in a chilly-bin from Charlie the Juicer. This new joint venture from Stefan Lepionka (of Stefan's Juices) and Marc Ellis (who first encountered Stefan selling icecream, age 11) is putting fresh-squeezed juice into 18 New World and selected Pak'n'Save stores. The PR states that Charlie the Juicer is "the only fresh-squeezed juice available in NZ supermarkets" - though we're sure that The Daily Squeeze got there first....

Across the city, Bar Bodega is matching beer with food in distinctive style. You can check the cafe menu on the web:

If there was any doubt, Labour Weekend proved that Summer Party Season is most definitely here... so be prepared. For (just about) everything you ever wanted to know about alcohol, check out the always informative New Scientist:

Or of you feel like you might be getting more than your fair share, take the quick and fun ALAC test:


STELLA ARTOIS TAPPING THE PULSE appears every MONDAY (except holidays) through LOOP in SCOOP.

Visit the Stella website at You'll need Netscape, Shockwave, Flash and a good command of the French or Dutch language.

Alternatively, check out – the international site for beer.

"I would rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity"


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