Hawthorn is a place where logophiles, gentlemen and Friends of Alcoholic Beverages can convene. The dimly-lit cocktail bar, which looks a little like a scene from a 1930s film noir, is probably the best bar in Wellington for a quiet night.
The low-key saloon, hidden upstairs at 82 Tory Street, was founded on some old fashioned chivalric principles, all helpfully listed at the entrance of the bar, like "remember the art of conversation lies in considered thought", and "it is both considerate and encouraged that gentleman stand for a lady and assist her with her chair". Gentlemen's bar, in the proper sense, Hawthorn definitely is.
Besides the scrabble games which are a signature part of Hawthorn, the bar prides itself in its top quality bartenders. Not only do they fix the most interesting, creative and oh-my-gawd-amazing drinks, but they do it with such panache that you've got to wonder why mixology isn't an official Olympic sport.
I had the Long John Da Silva Spider ($17) - a pirate-inspired gunpowder rum-based drink accompanied by Tuatara Porter and Kapiti Gingernut ice cream. Its description read "a playful interpretation of childhood memories, but alas, we're all grown up. Ideal preparation for wearing dresses and setting fire to one's beard". No beards were harmed in taking the drink, but drinking the combination of Gingernut ice cream with gunpowder rum in such a classy joint did make me simultaneously feel like a character from a James Bond film and the four-year-old version of myself drinking a soda float. Weird, but wonderful nonetheless.
A night at Hawthorn is something a little bit special. Bring your manners, your wallet and your vocabulary.