I was up Warkworth way recently, so I decided I'd drop in at the Matakana House for a well-deserved pint and to have a good look at the place.
And I have to say, it looks great. A former boarding house, the bar is a Speight's-themed number and the exposed timbers and totara slab bar fit in nicely. The food looked good and wasn't overly expensive, which was miraculous given that this was Matakana, after all, a place that thinks its produce is worth twice as much for having the word "Matakana" on the label.
The bar was quite crowded when I went in, which is usually a good sign, but it turns out that it wasn't, really. Matakana is a very local sort of a place, clearly, as anyone who isn't on first-name terms with the staff clearly doesn't get served until the locals, the usual mob of semi-rural blowhards, have had their fill. It really is quite infuriating to stand at the bar, cash in hand, quietly fuming as the bartender sees to the needs of Scotty and Dave-O and ignores you with all her considerable might.
It wasn't as though I was inconspicuous, either. I'm not a small lad and take up a fair amount of space at a bar, but the minutes ticked by and the bartender showed no sign that she was going to serve me.
In the end, gentle reader, I left. I took my money, put it back in my pocket, got in the car and drove off, wondering how on Earth that kind of small-minded parochialism can survive in our ever-changing world. Amazing, really.