17 December 2013


bedford soda & liquor

Photography by Libby Faris

Go manic over handmade sodas and meatballs at this new Ponsonby watering hole.

Any serious neighbourhood bar has three things down pat; delicious drinks and food, accommodating hours and quality owners, and fortunately, Bedford Soda & Liquor boasts all three. Having just this week opened on an expansive corner site in Ponsonby Central, this is a specialist establishment, one that has found its niche and is mastering it with admirable tenacity. We’re talking meatballs paired with delectable offerings from a fully-fledged soda and cocktail bar. Open day and night from midday right through till 12am, 7 days a week, it’s the latest venture by hospitality gurus Matt Nichols, Sam Ainsley and Jeremy Wells, who named their new project after Williamsburg’s main thoroughfare, Bedford Avenue.

Capitalising on the building’s original structure – with exposed steel beams, brick walls and no-fuss concrete floors – a semi-industrial, yet altogether welcoming interior has taken form, providing diners and revelers with a mix of high bar leaners, larger tables for big groups, outdoor courtyard seating and intimate tables for two.

On the drinks front, seasoned bon vivants are more than catered for. Manager and bartender Jason Clark was recently ranked 4th in the Diageo World Class global finals, and prescribes a compilation of delicious retro-style drinks, with an emphasis on fresh, handmade sodas, pitchers to share and novel non-alcoholic numbers for the teetotalers. We tried tipples from all parts of the lineup, including a refreshing blueberry pomegranate black tea, lemon, honey and soda, made fresh to order. Another standout crossed the divide from dessert to punchy late night drink with ease. Nicknamed the Chocolate Liquor Ball, a Bennetts of Mangawhai dark chocolate sphere is filled with a delicious white chocolate and vanilla cocktail, and served atop a shot of espresso. It’s the Mac Daddy of desserts, and would no doubt recharge anyone debating having an early night.

Complimenting the liquid offerings, there’s a build-your-own meal approach, prompting the indecisive to make swift decisions by taking to the conveniently laminated menu with a whiteboard maker. Take your pick from five varieties of meatball – beef, chicken, pork, vegetable or the weekly special – choose a tasty sauce, a side and you’re away laughing. On our visit we opted for a classic pairing on recommendation from ex Euro chef Croydon Cole; succulent beef balls drizzled in a tasty tomato sauce, served on a bed of risotto. It satisfied our midday lunch cravings like no lightweight salad could, yet we couldn’t resist trying more balls, this time in sub form, sandwiched between two soft buns with lashings of cheese sauce.

We’re certain that this new joint will quickly draw in a healthy local clientele. It’s the new home of great drinks and meatball magic, a spirited, not to mention seductive combination.

Bedford Soda & Liquor

Ponsonby Central

09 378 7362


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