Bar hopping: The Fitz Tui Clubrooms
"This is a typical Kiwi blokes' bar," says my 20-something female companion, clearly a learned expert in all things male.
"There are waitresses, gambling, a pool table and a wide range of beer. There's sports on the many televisions. In fact, there's nothing here appealing to a woman's taste. The floors are even wooden so beer can be mopped up."
I sipped my beer, looking for the negatives.
"Oh, but look, there's one of those soft-toy machines with the claw."
I walked over. You could only win rugby balls.
"Really?" she gasped.
"Well, there is a nice fire. That is the best part."
We were in the Fitz Tui Clubrooms, a no-nonsense bar on the edge of the city, which loudly exclaims: "In beer and food we proudly serve."
It is a bar most certainly targeting blokes. In the good old days, it served as a meeting place both before and after Crusaders matches in AMI stadium. It was a decent spot for a few beers if you wanted to watch Super Rugby games in Australia.
It has the look of an open-plan bach, its huge bar surrounded by stools and chairs.
It has a courtyard large enough to be described as impressive, two good pool tables (always a plus), somewhere to gamble, and an uncomplicated bar and food menu.
Drinks-wise, there's a modest (and rather uninspiring) selection of wines and spirits, and a decent selection of tap beer. But that's about it.
"Do you have any other beer, like craft beer?" I asked, looking at the taps.
"Not that I know of," the waitress said. She looked a little confused.
I settled for a Tui Blonde, which was bizarrely the most unusual available from the selection of Monteiths, Amstel, Export Gold and DB Draught. It was drinkable but dull.
Later I followed it with a watery DB Draught.
The snack menu offers chips, nachos, wedges, toasted sandwiches and pizza. The nachos were $12.50, uninspiring and a little cold. Dishes such as fish and chips, burgers, steak, chicken schnitzel and a caesar salad are available during the day. Everything is priced under $20.
During my visit, men in checked shirts and baseball caps stalked around the pool table.
A man, dressed in high-vis work jacket and a beanie, occasionally looked out from the gambling area. Three men, one in a Wales rugby jersey, another in a Crusaders top, and one with with a "heavy-metal" beard, propped up the beer, sipping pints.
The Fitz Tui isn't clever or gimmicky. It's just a pub, a grand place to meet the boys, have a beer, watch the game, place a bet and shoot some pool.
The Fitz Tui Clubrooms
Cnr of Fitzgerald Ave and Cashel St
- The Press