The Hop House is a new restaurant, boutique beer and craft bar and music venue in a lovingly restored 102-year-old building, including a garden area with an open fire.
It is located in one of Tauranga's best known entertainment venues in Wharf St, says Hop House owner David Stanway, and has a cool history of being "the place to be".
"Back in the 90s this used to be Shiraz, a Tauranga icon. It was the first place in Tauranga you could get a cappuccino."
It was also the site of the popular Italian Spuntinos. Stanway says it was for him a sought-after location.
"It is part of Tauranga's history, and has all the original matai flooring."
Another appeal to locals is the layout, with separate areas where groups can eat or drink, including a cosy outdoor walled garden.
Stanway has given the venue a makeover, with the briefing to local interior designer John Darke being to retain its historic feel.
Modern notes like an ethanol fire in the bar area and a green planted wall and a big screen in the garden tastefully complement original features.
Stanway says the different areas are a draw for the corporate downtown crowd, whether for business meetings or more casual after work drinks.
There is a separate room with cosy bench seats that would be great for meetings, and Stanway says the garden area — which has heating — can be booked for events.
"We have a few weddings lined up already, and the big screen will be a draw for meetings where presentations are involved, sports events, and we will look at doing a quiz night here too."
The Hop House celebrates craft beer which Stanway is passionate about — he even wears a T-shirt saying "I have hops for brains".
With ten taps to choose from, beer lovers can indulge in old favourites and Stanway will also introduce new flavours as they come to market, both on the menu as specials, and in tasting evenings in which New Zealand brewers will come and give talks. Wine lovers can also indulge in a carefully selected menu showcasing an array of New Zealand favourites as well as lesser known boutique wines.
The food menu created by local chef Daniel Glubb, former owner of the award-winning Porch in Waihī, is designed to showcase local produce and producers.
Stanway particularly wanted to keep the food affordable, with no dish over $20.
There are seven gourmet burger combinations on the menu, with either homemade beef patty, spiced lamb, chicken schnitzel or, for non-meat eaters, falafel.
All burgers are served with herbed fries and using local produce and it is difficult to choose from the delicious sounding combos including the Blue Burger — 150g house-made beef patty, kikorangi blue cheese, garlic mushrooms, cos, vine tomato, red onion and tomato relish — for just $18, or the Chilli Chicken Burger — herb-crumbed chicken schnitzel, red pepper chilli glaze, whipped feta, vine tomato, red onion, rocket and piccalilli.
On Tuesdays is a special 'beer and burger meal' when punters can grab a burger and beer for just $20.
There are also snacks including Turkish bread and dips, mushroom arancini balls with mozzarella and fried sage, herbed fries which can be served plain with rosemary salt and herbed mayonnaise, or loaded with next level fries options of beer gravy and mozzarella or pulled pork and smoked cheddar.
If you don't fancy burgers, there are chicken wings, Japanese fried chicken with kimchi mayo, or smoked kahawai potato cakes with egg mayo and pickled onion.
Spoilt for choice, Dave suggested a selection of sharing plates so we started with the Grilled Turkish bread with homemade hummus, tzatziki, preserved lemon oil and za'atar ($12.50).
Simply delicious. The Twice-cooked brined chicken wings come American barbecue-style or Korean-style with red pepper, ginger sauce, green onions, sesame ($14). They were hot, spicy and yummy.
We also tried the Mushroom Arancini Balls with mozzarella and fried sage ($16) which were smooth, creamy and flavour packed.
The Smoked Kahawai Potato Cakes with egg mayo, cress & pickled onions ($16) were light and fluffy and a real crowd pleaser.
My pick of the night was Japanese Fried Chicken with kimchi mayo ($16) — crispy, tasty and absolutely scrumptious.
To top off the evening I ordered The Hop House Dessert of the Day — a chocolate brownie served with a Jersey Cow caramel icecream with poached feijoas.
All menu items are matched with recommended wine or beer. Or you can try the tasting options. She had Wine Tasting Flight, which is four wines for $25.
Dave selected four New Zealand boutique white wines — the Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc, Astrolabe Pinot Gris from Kaikoura, Providore Pinot Griss from Central Otago and Fat and Sassy Chardonnay from Hawke's Bay. Not usually a chardonnay drinker, but this was her pick of the night — a must try.
I had the beer tasting paddle at $20, which included the Rocky Knob Pilsner — Mount Maunganui, Brewraucracy Pale Ale — Hamilton, Epic Armageddon — Auckland and Epic Zombie — Auckland. My pick is the Brewraucracy — absolutely loved it.
The Hop House hosts a tasting of its Boutique Wines and Crafted Beers with the Brewer.
These are a ticketed event at $25 per person, including nibbles. The Hop House is lining up to be a great music venue too. Like The Hop House on Facebook and be the first to know about upcoming events.
The Hop House
2 Wharf St, Tauranga
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday from 3pm Friday - Sunday from 12pm.
Specials: The Hop House offers daily deals like Happy Hour 4pm-6pm Friday and Tuesday Crafted Burger and Beer for $20. It has just launched Gourmet Sunday Roast every Sunday from 12pm, for $15. Anyone who mentions "BK sent me here" will get a dessert for just $7.50