Over the last couple of years, Ghuznee has undergone a bit of a revival, transforming from humdrum street to humming destination. This once unremarkable part of town now boasts a trail of stylish shops, buzzing breweries and cool cafes.
From the street it's near impossible to spot this rooftop hideaway. A small sign above the entrance hints at its existence, but this is one of those places that is seemingly reserved for the curious and those in the know.
Once you've ascended the winding staircase you'll emerge into a loft-style space, decked out with upcycled odds and ends. The bar retains a smattering of features from previous inhabitants (spot the old 'Krazy Lounge' sign), giving it a slightly roughed-up, gritty appearance. A record player spins funky beats, creating a low-key, lounge vibe.
There's a handful of tables inside, however it's the roof terrace that really shines. This outdoor space is a real suntrap, making it an ideal spot for a few sundowners. Wrapped by a parapet, you won't find views over Cuba Street, but the brick wall does offer protection from pesky Wellington wind and creates a cosy nook for after dark drinks.
When it comes to the food and drink, simply good seems to be The Ascot ethos. The menu is short and sweet, with just a few light bites on offer alongside a neat and petite drinks list.
Hot dogs and wine are the headliners. Could there be a better pairing? Not only do these two make great companions, they're also perfect Instagram fodder.
Chow down on one of several dogs on offer, including a cheeseburger-style number and a Korean-inspired version with kimchi. We opted for the Jerrydog, which came smothered in spicy mayo, pickles and cheese. Hot diggity dog, it was good.
For those of the veggie persuasion, you can change any hot dog to a 'not dog' by swapping the meat for a carrot. A what now? Yep, you read right — a sizzled carrot masquerades as a frankfurter. Clever. According to my pal, this worked surprisingly well and made for a tasty substitute.
The drinks list is refreshingly short, so decision making is a breeze. The blackboard wine list changes daily and features just three carefully chosen wines, with a focus on natural wines and interesting international varietals. You can also imbibe one of three house cocktails, made by the batch. Points for efficiency there. Choose from a negroni, old fashioned or Summer Brew — The Ascot's take on an espresso martini. On tap you'll find Cassels & Sons beers or choose from a fridge full of Garage Project faves. Drinks range from $10-12 a pop and the hot dogs come in at $9 each.
With its sun-drenched terrace and chilled vibes, The Ascot is perfect for a summer afternoon session with your mates, or cosy up in corner with a date and enjoy some late night star-gazing over a hot dog and a brew or two.