The Taphouse
Address: 2017-2021 Great North Rd, Avondale
Hours: Ppen noon-late seven days
Ph: (09) 828 7481

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I turned up at this establishment. The Taphouse is at the Avondale roundabout and is as much a part of it as the never-ending flow of traffic.

I came here because my partner had got one of those Grab One vouchers for a pizza and a beer and I love a bargain. But I have to say I felt a little nervous when I entered the bar because many bar staff have a tendency to make you feel as though you're there under sufferance when you mention vouchers.

Anyway, I needn't have worried - the wonderfully friendly and funny manager, Monica, saw to that. She organised our meals, had us seated and comfortable in short order and even offered us a taste of each beer before we'd decided what we'd order. And she did it all with a sense of humour that would be priceless if you could bottle it. Genuinely interested staff who actually enjoy the customer interaction are rare these days, so I can only hope Monica is getting paid her worth.

Anyway, apart from the staff, there are a other reasons to recommend this place. For one, it's a genuine free house, so instead of simply offering the beer of one of the major suppliers, it offers beers from three major suppliers: DB, Lion and Boundary Road.


Actually, the Boundary Road pilsner was nice on a warm spring day and went well with the food.

The food wasn't anything to get award-winning chef Al Brown worried, but it was cooked well and came out promptly. What surprised me was that even if we hadn't had a voucher it would have been almost ridiculously cheap.

The wine list was a bit underwhelming, but then I don't imagine they get a huge demand for the more esoteric wines. It's a more down-to-earth sort of a place - the sort of place I imagine has a loyal and regular clientele, who know what they like and like what they know.

The deck area out front is lovely, the beer is fresh and the food is cheap, so give it a whirl the next time you're out that way.

You'd be surprised how good it is.