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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Bealey's full of life

Bealey's full of life

Barhopping with Keith Lynch

Last updated 11:10 22/06/2011
This was one weird review. To give you some context, on Monday, June 13, I was standing on the corner of Stanmore Rd and Worcester St when the second 6.3 magnitude quake of the year hit.

Over the following hours I could have done with a stiff drink, but I certainly didn't expect to get one.

Once again poor Christchurch got hammered, and thousands of people enjoying a simple, quiet Monday afternoon were forced to again fear for their lives, and their homes.

Yet somehow a day later, I'm sitting in the Bealey's Speight's Ale House scribbling notes before writing up this week's bar review.

I might live nearby but even getting there was a chore. From my St Albans home, I had to negotiate sink holes and pools of water lining the streets.

And yet when I walked in the door, the bar was full.

Life goes on, I suppose.

Inside, a large band of hairy Irishmen were preparing to start singing an extremely upbeat and impressively nostalgic set.

The nicely lit and attractive bar area was full, as was the restaurant around back.

Groups of people crowded around the bar itself, sipping beer and picking at hearty looking food.

I grabbed myself a pint of delicious Speight's Old Dark and waited in the corner for the people who were crazy enough to agree to meet me for a pint last Tuesday.

Not surprisingly, they were out-of-towners, radio journalists who had to find something to eat after spending the day reporting on yet more misery.

We remembered spending time in Greymouth's Speight's Ale House back in November last year, before grabbing a seat in the restaurant, a few pints of Speight's Distinction Ale, and some menus.

And then the first aftershock of the night hit.

"Bring it on, bring it on," a diner cried at the Earth's crust, before going back to his dinner.

Christchurch eh? I moved across the world for this?

Oh well. Probably best not to let it ruin the night, I thought.

I ordered a BLT, which was delicious and cost only $15 and the others plumped for the battered fish which they certainly seemed to enjoy.

Given the constant rumbling and the feeling an earthquake could strike us down at any time, the staff were extremely friendly and helpful.

I should say I've been to the Speight's Ale House a few times since the February quake.

With the city out of action, it is often overly busy, which is good for the owners but can be frustrating for the customers as it's such a lovely pub.

However, it was just right on Tuesday. Busy enough to create atmosphere but quiet enough to allow you to speak.

After the food, we went out to the smoking area for one more beer.

Inside a large merry man, whose dancing resembled a dolphin standing on its tail trying to avoid falling over, strutted his stuff next to a joyous, jigging woman.

Life goes on, I suppose.

Bealey's Speights Ale House
Where: 263 Bealey Ave
Open: 7am to 11pm seven days a week

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