Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Delightful Christchurch heritage pit stop

If looking for something different for a relaxed, albeit stylish lunch, the OGB Bar and Café at 28 Cathedral Square takes some beating. Established in the Old Government Building OGB) of 1913, it is one of the finest heritage sites in the city. It was for many years the Ministry of Works. These days it is the Heritage Hotel along with other businesses, including the OGB Bar and Café.

It is dubbed Speakeasy-style, a name belonging to prohibition days when patrons spoke quietly in public about premises selling illicit alcoholic beverages.

These days there’s no need for secrecy.  And going by the patronage, supporters are not keeping quiet about this place with views of heritage tramcars gliding past the windows.

The bar and café was the first to open post Canterbury earthquakes of 2011. Indeed the entire building, stylishly clad with Oamaru stone, needed considerable repairs and strengthening. It is claimed some of the original stonemasons helped out during the aftermath of the earthquakes. The bar and café was the idea of Nick Inkster. He added a convenient coffee bar window opening onto a courtyard.

I went there with my Christchurch-born son visiting from Perth. I doubt I could have made a better choice for that something different occasion.

We ordered a beer, one of the popular Christchurch craft brews. Our choice was Three Boys IPA. It was poured into a large jug-style glass, possibly more than a pint. It was not as cold as I was expecting. Thus it was highly suitable for the cosy bar when outside the grey autumn day was decidedly dismal. We accompanied it with a Ploughman’s platter we shared. Platter comprised cheese, ham and gherkins along with some interesting spreads for the toasted bread. We also ordered a basket of excellent wedges.

To say the heritage ambience was appealing is an understatement. That, the beverage and food choice, combined to make us feel we had enjoyed something special, a big step above average.

Not only is it an ideal lunch stop, it is ideal for other times of the day. Just drop in with good company for a relaxing drink. In addition to craft beer, the wine list is impressive.    

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