Address: Palmerston North.Regent Arcade, Palmerston North
Ph: (06) 357 5571
Open: Sunday 4pm-midnight, Mon-Thurs 11am-midnight, Fri-Sat 11am-2am.
I know they say that nothing good can come of Palmerston North, but that view is a load of old twaddle, frankly. I went back there recently and revisited this gem of a pub, whose role in making Palmy a better place can't be overlooked.
Up a narrow lane, it's atmospheric and airy, thanks to large folding doors opening out to the paved alley. Inside it's lovely, with a soaring selection of single malts and a collection of familiar and less familiar beers on tap. The walls are covered in Scottish rather than Irish memorabilia, reflecting the owner's heritage and association with the playing of bagpipes. A long sword - claymore - adorns one wall, there's a handmade trophy for solo piping, and the tables bear the coats of arms of Scottish clans whose descendants drink in the pub.
It's friendly, too. Strangers are engaged in conversation and occasionally even prevailed upon to sing a song, but I must point out this isn't compulsory.
The Guinness is great and the food is a step above the average pub food, with a truly heroic all-day breakfast for a very reasonable sum, but it's the atmosphere that makes the place. From the staff's smiles to the regulars' banter and the music of the fine collection of bands on its tiny stage, it's the real deal and a great spot if you find yourself in Palmy.