Pub spy: Montage, Pt Chevalier

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Address: Great North Rd, Pt Chevalier
Ph: (09) 849 4328
Open: Friday-Sunday, 11am to late; Tuesday-Thursday, 3pm to late
Website: montagebar.co.nz

Class and originality rule in this super bar. Photo / Doug Sherring
Class and originality rule in this super bar. Photo / Doug Sherring

Pt Chevalier has something of a split personality.

Down towards the water it is as expensive and salubrious as you could possibly want, while the Great North Rd end always comes across as a bit more downmarket.

Nothing wrong with that of course, and it is reflected in the bars along Great North Rd - solid, traditional pubs filled with raucous laughter, sports coverage and pokies.

Montage is different, but then it has always been. Some years ago, it was a goth bar that seemed to open to a schedule known only to the keyholder. The staff had more metal in their faces than teeth and it was a bit, well, weird. Before that it was the Ambassador cinema.

These days Montage is a funky little bar in the old cinema foyer, and the rest of the place is an art gallery. It looks very cool and the mood inside is comfortable and stylish, with comfortable seats, a nice-looking bar and friendly, smiling service.

The food is not extensive, but instead it's effectively a nibbles menu; well-chosen and tasty, with a gourmet sandwich option as well.

The drinks are great, and the focus is on a selection of New Zealand craft beers from Stoke, Hawke's Bay Independent Brewery, and there's even a Galbraith's beer. The wine list is brilliant, well considered and well picked from small producers and clearly aimed at being top-notch by-the-glass drinks.

The cocktails, though, are the star turn. From clever takes on classics, such as the lamb and mint julep (made with lamb-and-rosemary-infused Bourbon), to cocktails that are aged in small oak barrels for weeks before serving.

Overall, this is a brilliant bar, with class and originality. And to make it even better, they seem genuinely pleased to see you. Long may it flourish.

Scores

Service: 4/5
Drink: 5/5
Food: 4/5
Atmosphere: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

- Herald on Sunday

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