An invitation to drink at a tavern by friends is frequently met with hesitation. Many modern punters are put off by the thought of pokie machines, pool tables and bad beer – But The Sprig & Fern Tinakori Road Tavern is different.
Located in Thorndon, The Sprig & Fern Tinakori Road Tavern is brought to you by the award-winning Sprig & Fern Brewery of sunny Nelson, a brewery with a solid reputation amongst craft beer drinkers and eleven medals from the 2013 Brewers Guild Awards to prove it.
Walk into the beautiful old Thorndon building that houses The Sprig & Fern on a cold night in Wellington, and you are met with a warm atmosphere, cosy wooden corners and the quiet hum of conversation over a good drink.
The Sprig & Fern is the local to many Thorndon residents - and doesn’t have televisions pool tables or pokie machines, ruling that they “won’t allow unwanted distractions to get in the way of good beer and a good yarn”.
With nineteen craft beers and ciders on tap I was feeling a little overwhelmed, so I asked a friendly bartender what she would recommend for my friend and I – both cider girls at heart.
My friend got a half pint of the Berry Cider ($6) while I went with my bartender’s recommendation of a pint of classic Crisp Apple Cider ($9.50). The deep plum colour and combination of boysenberries strawberries and blackcurrants of the Berry Cider had my friend going back for a full pint, while I enjoyed the dry palate of the Crisp Apple Cider traditionally brewed using two varieties of Nelson apples.
To go with our cider we went for a bowl of the very popular curly fries served with aioli and tomato sauce ($8.50) from the bar snacks “Kai to Share” menu. The fries came as a generous serving of moreish deep-fried morsels that kept us satisfied though a couple of hours of conversation.
But the best thing about the Sprig & Fern is its Thorndon community feel. Tinakori’s Itallian Trattoria restaurant Cosa Nostra delivers a range of pizzas to the tavern every night until 9pm, while Tinakori Road’s Indus delivers the best of Thorndon’s Indian cuisine to Sprig & Fern for Thursday curry nights.
Although the Sprig & Fern is distanced from the lights and sounds of Courtenay Place, it is the perfect spot for a cosy drink or dinner with friends, and holds weekly gigs to keep punters entertained.
The tavern also has an off-license and 2 litre flagons available to fill with beer, or you can bring your own vessel to take a little piece of the Sprig and Fern home with you.
As a Thorndon girl, The Spring & Fern is fast becoming my local. It gives Nelson light to a suburb often stereotyped as being dreary and dull. Plus, with the Prime Minster in residence just down the road, you never know whom you will end up chatting to over a pint of good craft beer.