Bar hopping: Rose and Thistle
The Rose and Thistle is a lovely name. It suggests a hearty country pub teeming with flat-capped gentlemen sipping pints thick enough to glue bricks together.
The Papanui bar's widely used acronym, however, is not lovely: RAT.
A rubbish name for a rodent retailer, never mind a bar.
As I'm a nice, kind person I'm sticking to "Rose and Thistle".
So on that note, a friend and I went to the Rose and Thistle for a few quiet beers and some one-day cricket.
First impressions: The decor, all bright wood, is uncomplicated. And the place was full of men in Guinness caps, men in black T-shirts emblazoned with the message "Also Available in Sober", men with red complexions chatting to men with heavy beards, and men with nicknames Shorty, Spike and Patch.
At one stage, two young women appeared outside the front door. For a few minutes, they hovered. Agonisingly.
Inside the excitement was palpable.
Would they come in? You could almost feel the collective will of middle-aged men reverting to teenage boys.
Eventually the duo went elsewhere.
Unbeknownst to them, their decision was met with sighs and shouts of "Grunter, you scared them off".
What to drink? I scanned the taps for something different. Tui, Export Gold, Monteiths, oh and Rose and Thistle.
That sounded promising I thought.
Maybe the bar's own brew. "I'll have one of those," I said, pointing at the tap.
Halfway through the pour I asked: what is it? "Speights"."Oh", I said. "Fine."
We sat quietly, enjoyed some cricket, had a Guinness, which is probably the worst summer drink imaginable, and switched to a sweet pre-mix combination of Jim Beam and cola, which to me is a bizarre Kiwi thing along with eskimo lollies and pineapple lumps.
The Rose and Thistle is a straight-shooting New Zealand bar. It serves Tui, Speights and Export Gold. Murphy's Irish Red and Guinness are exotic.
It offers food - "deep fried goodness" - such as pies, garlic bread, chips, wedges, burgers, steaks. There are enough TVs to watch a space mission and a huge TAB out back.
It's a bit dull but it's grand for a few beers, a bet and a spot of sport.
Rose and Thistle
24a Main North Rd, Papanui