Phone: (04) 472 0033
Tucked away in a former pizza joint just off Wellington's Willis St, this pub presented me with something of a problem when I first found it. Having been to an event where the troughing and grazing were top-notch, the stairs were a struggle for me.
However, that was the only struggle I had as I found an absolute gem of a bar at the top; a haven for those who love not just great beer but exceptional food as well.
The place is large enough to accommodate both a generous bar area and a quieter dining area, despite having a brewery slap in the middle of it. With 40 beers on tap, you need to give yourself a bit of time when you visit.
The beer selection is nicely democratic, offering mainstream as well as craft versions, which allows the customer to decide what to drink. Among the craft beers are some stand-out drops, like Renaissance Stonecutter Scotch Ale, Yeastie Boys' Pot Kettle Black and Fuller's London Pride among many others. The bottled selection is strong, with a nice choice of beers from around the world.
The wine list is well thought-out and handily priced, while the spirits selection is great.
The service is great, too, with attentive, knowledgeable and, best of all, chatty and genuinely funny people behind the stick, making it the sort of place where even a solo drinker can linger.
The food is simply divine. Chef Anton Legg loves beer and it shows in how he uses spent grain from the brewery as an ingredient in his cuisine. He also makes his own vinegars, which are sensational. If you order the glorious hand-cut, spent-grain-slated chips, make sure you request some of the pale ale vinegar to dip them in. Try the spicy chicken wings, too.
Wellington is packed with great beer bars (something Auckland should be taking note of) and this is a one of the better ones, taking a simple concept - good beer and good food - and turning it into a real art form. Go there, and enjoy, but make sure you don't have anything on afterwards because you won't want to leave.
Fork & Brewer is open Mon-Sat 11.30am-late.