134 Ponsonby Road may have closed its doors on an old time favourite, but now’s there’s a damn good reason for you and every man and his dog to get back on the horse. Nestled between the Ponsonby’s strip and suburban Grey Lynn, Hoppers Garden Bar is as peculiar as they come – but in the best way. The new kid on the block is owned and operated by sisters Jessica and Bronwyn Payne, who set out to build with the “Avoid the ordinary, seek the marvellous,” motto in mind. And boy have they delivered. From the leafy-green plants, to the vintage picture frames, to the fringed lampshades, to the quaint, red and navy doors, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve been transported into a sophisticated version of Alice in Wonderland.
Once you manage to peel your eyes away from the sights, you’ll naturally migrate to one of the oak dining tables, where the menu awaits. At first glance, you’ll notice that the weird and wonderful themes have been reflected in both meals and beverages — particularly the cocktails. Beer is also a big deal here. The 18 taps boast flavours and styles from all corners of the world. Think hop-heavy brews from Mount Brewing Co., Birkenhead Brewing, Behemoth, Hallertau and more.