The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
October 9, 2008

Coffee you Feel !

Yes, that’s right – Havana Coffee, home to some of the best roasted beans and some of the choicest cuts of real estate too. The guys at Havana seem to have a handle on all their senses: a feel for what makes a great bar, a good eye for catchy graphics, a fine nose for roasting, and an ear out for some choice sites. Here’s three that we know of. 

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First up is the original, the former roasting shop in Wigan St, composed of two little dwellings that are now home to a good bar. While the street used to be full of a whole line of these little love shacks, it’s just a continuation of the low rent architecture that used to fill Haining St as well in its previous incantation as a China Town opium den. Long may these two shacks continue to thrive, and the bars within them. They’ve survived a building by the School of Design next door, and a planking by the Wellingtonian – they can survive a lot longer I’m sure.

If you were to wander from Wigan, along Haining, you’ll get to Tory St and Francis Place, with the new home of Havana’s roasting business. A fine old Studebaker truck outside, former ‘Childs Livestock’ farming logo only partially painted out, and an array of roasting equipment behind the upstairs windows in a luridly green Deco building, there’s a rumour going round that the whole Havana Bar will also be moving to Francis Place. Say it ain’t so Joe!

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But there is a third great Havana site, although this one may belong more to the Havana Cruising Club, if there is such a thing. Over the hill by the edge of the sea in Evans Bay, there’s a jaunty boatshed with a catchy tarpaulin, and rail tracks leading up from the sea into the shed. Could it be that like Batman, the boys from Havana have a hidden bat boat ready to spring fully fledged from the Batshed? Or are the Havana hombres due to launch a new water-based coffee provisions to service the boaties? Tune in next week, same Bat time, same Bat channel….

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M-D
10 - 10 - 08

You can betcha with Havana vacating Wigan that those shacks won’t be around for long – could be hot bidding between SoA and Rex??

You forgot to mention the other sites brought to us by the folk at Havana, even if they are no longer directly associated – Midnight Espresso, Fidels (even if though it has now become hideously gentrified), and the place that, imho, serves the best coffee in Wellington – Delux on Kent Terrace. By extension there is also Maranui, which provides a much needed shot of Havana in the ‘burbs…

Havana Therdrink
10 - 10 - 08

Peering through the windows of Francis Place, it certainly seems set up to be a bar or cafe inside, rather than just a roastery. It would be a nice (though brave) move to open a new bar there, but I really hope Havan isn’t going from Wigan St: upper Tory is a bit of a trek.

Maximus
12 - 10 - 08

M-D- U sure about that? They may be heritage !

M-D
13 - 10 - 08

Pure speculation on my part, but the buildings aren’t on the heritage register…

Maximus
13 - 10 - 08

Wasn’t the school of architecture looking for an extension? Is this the site? Surely they can’t go Up on the Wigan St building, as it was an award winning building.

M-D
14 - 10 - 08

Heh – “…as it was an award winning building…” – methinks your tongue is firmly embedded in cheek…

E
14 - 10 - 08

I heard they already had a fairly substantial battle with Rex and I too heard the rumour about the new place opening on Francis. One thing stays the same with the boys – they’re always changing and rearranging ;-)

rondo
14 - 10 - 08

Substantial battle? Only because Rex’s crew accidentally dropped some scaffolding planks through the roof when they were building – i’m sure that’s all forgiven and forgotten now.

I think it should stay where it is !

It’s Iconic !

M-D
20 - 10 - 08

The Wigan buildings are safe (for now) according to my sources (Havana Staff). The bar is undergoing so refurbishment as we speak, so there is obviously some intention to stay on awhile. The other building will still be a roasting house (so, we will not be missing the burnt-toast-smell), it is just the sales that is moving round the corner to Tory (although I think they may be roasting there as well). According to the helpful chap who ground my beans (and gave me an extra helping – for being one of the last customers in the old building as they closed shop that afternoon), the new premises is something special – can’t wait to check it out… I’m assuming it has a cafe – is there any update on that front?

The SoA will just have to build upward on top of their award winning buildings…

M-D
23 - 10 - 08

The new premises is uber-Cuban-coolness – I’ve just been there to collect my weekly supply of beans. Plus – a shot (of caffeine) on the house… I’m in HavanaHeaven. It’s so cool that it hurts…

Seriously, you gotta check out the interior, it just needs a beat-up 50s american automobile out the front (although the new-old truck is an admirable stand-in)…

Maximus
24 - 10 - 08

Isn’t the thing about being cool as a Cuban cigar : that it’s poverty chic? There’s no money in their economy, no petrol for cars, no materials for building or restoring old buildings, and so therefore it all looks fantastic in a run down paint peeling manner?

They better not have gone all designery in there……