Pub spy: A treasured old friend comes up trumps

By Don Kavanagh

1 comment
Galbraith's Alehouse
Address: 2 Mt Eden Rd, Grafton
Phone: (09) 379 3557

A treasured old friend comes up trumps Sam Hitchcock is manager of Galbraith's. Photo / Jason Dorday
A treasured old friend comes up trumps Sam Hitchcock is manager of Galbraith's. Photo / Jason Dorday

I haven't been in for a while. I know I say that about a lot of bars, but I really hadn't been to Galbraith's for an appallingly long time, given the fact that it is Auckland's premier brewbar.

As I had to meet someone, I suggested catching up at Galbraith's, not just because it's a good pub, but because the person I was meeting was so dreary that I knew I'd need a beer or seven to get through the whole ordeal.

As it turned out - joy of joys - he never turned up and so I sat in happy contemplation with a pint of Bob Hudson's in front of me and a smile on my face. This pub does that to you; if you like beer and pubs generally, it will make you happy.

From the soaring ceilings and dark wood shelves behind the bar to the beautiful lack of sudden noises, Galbraith's is a temple to beer. It's what the place is all about and it informs pretty much everything within.

I also wanted to try the beers of newish brewer Sam Williamson, who took over from the great Ian Ramsay.

It was one of the joys of Galbraith's to see Ramsay stride purposefully from the brewhouse through the bar to check the product and I haven't seen many people happier in their work.

Thankfully, Williamson is keeping the traditional ales in fine fettle and adding some new ones to the mix too, including the Old Glory American IPA, a lovely drop.

If beer isn't what you're after, the spirit selection is impressive and the wine list a thing of beauty. The food is also great. The seriously fat chips are a regular highlight for this visitor.

The service has occasionally been a little up and down over the years, but thistime it was inch-perfect: a raised eyebrow, a perfectly placed pint and a smile of thanks, before I was able to kick back and take in the atmosphere.

There are two kinds of people you will see in Galbraith's in the afternoon: late-lunching business types, who occasionally bray a little loudly as the ale takes hold; and the beer lovers, who are easily recognisable by the look of contentment on their faces. I am happy to be counted among the latter.


Service: 5
Menu: 5
Drink: 5
Atmosphere: 5
Overall: 5

- Herald on Sunday

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