Twin review: The Carlton and Monday Room
Saturday night: one good cocktail, one bad set, two beers and a toast to the management.
Monday Room, 367 Moorhouse Ave
At the Monday Room early on a Saturday evening we hide in the alfresco lounge. We laugh and warm ourselves beside a roaring fire. I nibble sashimi and sip a Blood and Sand.
The $18 cocktail is named after the 1922 Rudolph Valentino movie of the same name.
Brandishing the menu, my accomplice tells me in a faux Spanish accent that the film is about a young bullfighter who rises from a poor background only to be defeated by his own ambition.
But the Chivas Regal 18-year-old Scotch, shaken with fresh orange juice, sweet vermouth, and XO cherry brandy, tastes sweetly of victory.
I tease my accomplice as he pulls a small vial from his satchel and liberally pats specialty beard oil ordered from Brooklyn onto an already perfectly manicured beard.
"Hipster," I hiss as we exit into a brisk southerly.
Carlton Bar and Eatery, 1 Papanui Rad, Merivale.
Carlton Bar and Eatery offers friendly service, delicious food and live music seven nights a week.
We scoff seafood. We wash it down with bottled beer. A band is playing a free show. James Reid, The Feelers frontman, on a tour for his album Saint.
Like a drunk Vegas showman, it was schmaltzy, Reid's voice raspy, off-key and soulless. He of perfect beard said: "Let's get out of here before he pulls out his song Venus."
But a third of the way through his shambling set, Carlton management pulled the plug and Reid was yanked from the stage. You know you're in a good place when a bar refuses to allow you to listen to bad music.
In a toast to the Carlton, we raise our bottles and clink them together.