While the Three Lamps quarter has received a much-needed revival of late, the southern end of Ponsonby Road (and edging into Grey Lynn, really) has been crying out for a bit of attention. This month, it comes in the form of Rose Alley, a cute new food and drink precinct, where its cornerstone establishment, Bar Beluga, offers everything we’re seeking in a new watering hole.
Bar Beluga is the brainchild of Patrick Dillon, having most recently finished up an eight-year Beverage Manager tenure at Savor Group to embark on this vision. In Bar Beluga, he wanted to create a place that was friendly and down to earth. The Bar Beluga drinks menu is a concise edit of Dillon’s favourite wines and local craft beers (which we’re told will be everchanging), and the cocktail menu is small but mighty (boasting only concoctions at a time), where innovation reigns supreme.
Here the vibe was always to be approachable and a touch nostalgic. So much so that Dillion’s marinated goats’ cheese is served with Meal Mates, and one of the bar’s signature cocktails (aptly named School Camp) features Raro foam set atop ample measures of rum. The latter is on offer alongside bonafide classics, like a dirty martini (one the best we’ve ever tried). Other delicious additions to the snack menu include a warmed Daily Bread sourdough with herb butter and the charcuterie tray, which features fresh deli cuts sourced from locally-produced L’Authentique.
And while the bar is relaxed and casual, with pared-back furnishings, plants everywhere, and a glass ceiling through which the colours of sundown stream through, Dillon tells me that the vision, come warmer days, is to have DJs on Fridays and Saturday evenings — a notion that lends itself to the covered-courtyard style space.
Bar Beluga comprises just one of a few select tenancies in the just-opened Rose Alley, an address that was formerly The Vodka Room. Gutted and refurnished entirely, the space currently houses Pizza Monkey and bubble tea destination Twentea. We’ve also heard that soon the spot will open a Spanish tapas-style food truck, a small cafe and a gallery space. The intention, as Dillon explains, is for guests to flow freely through the spaces; maybe grabbing a slice of pizza and having it with a cold beer in Bar Beluga — a nice community-like feel, we think.
For now, the bar will open Wednesday through Saturday, from 3pm until late, making it the perfect new destination for some end-of-week knock-offs.
5 Rose Road,
Grey Lynn, Auckland