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11° & CLEAR SKY ON THURSDAY 20 SEPTEMBER IN WELLINGTON
By Laetitia Laubscher
March 19, 2014
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Monterey

A bar for the aspiring Van Gogh, or those who just like a good burger.
By Laetitia Laubscher
March 19, 2014
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Tuesday. It's not quite hump day yet but for most far enough along the week to already begin to feel 'over it'. Two days into the industrial grind and for most — after a day of burning your eyes staring at a fluorescent screen, reading readings and unmemorable memos — the last thing on your mind on a Tuesday night is cooking dinner. I hear you.

But, friends, don't fall for the overpriced Weight Watchers heat-and-eats just yet. I have a better solution: Monterey.

Sure, for most it might be a little bit out of the way, located in affable Newtown, but it's a gem nonetheless. Especially on Tuesdays, when the bar does a $10 burger night. Not that the price is the only luring factor. I tried the halloumi burger (usually $17), and to quote our own modern-day Shakespeare, "that shit cray". It's the only way to describe what happens when halloumi, onion rings, salad, barbecue sauce and mayo all share the same delicious bun.

Drinks-wise prices are what you'd expect: just under $10 for most beers and wines and around $16 for cocktails. Feeling the need for a bit of an Argentinian-style drink, I tried the Williamsburg ($16), which was served with house-spiced rye whisky, fernet branca, maraschino, dubonnet and spiced chocolate bitters. Should you like whisky, spices and the taste of dark chocolate, you'll like this creation. I sure did but was only a tad disappointed in its quite miniature serving size.

My last, and favourite, aspect of this Rintoul Street bar was something a little bit unconventional: the doodle tables (official terminology). Each table at Monterey comes covered in a sheet of paper and with a set of pencils (outside tables get chalk and chalkboard tables). In any given suburb this might not be a big deal, but given that Newtown has its own little vestige of creative folk most patrons get pretty into their doodles, and the results are (mostly) magic. The best doodles get posted on their blog, for those interested.

All in all, it's a perfect little watering hole to draw, drink and eat burgers.

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