Puhoi Pub & Hotel

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4 reviews
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Ahiroa Road,

(09) 422 0812

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byBrett Atkinson20/12/2006

4 out of 5

It's mid December, but no-one's told the majority of punters at the Puhoi Pub that "Movember" is well and truly over.

Facial hair is the accessory of choice at the most authentic colonial pub near Auckland. Most drinkers have made the journey very quickly and on two wheels, and a few hundred thousand dollars worth of shining motorbikes are arrayed like a giant Westie charm bracelet in the pub's carpark.

Harleys and Ducatis are the marques of choice, and Jap bikes are as rare as a wine list at the pub's heritage bar. Most blokes are drinking jugs of Tui, or staying blood-loyal to their favourite beers with big bottles of Lion Red or Export Gold. Bourbon and rum RTDs complete the picture for the ladies. Glasses are optional for both sexes.

Despite the chrome, leather jackets and black T-shirts, a couple of hours sitting in the pub's sprawling garden bar is very relaxed. We're talking bikers, not bikies here, and most of these guys will return to being hardworking builders, accountants, and sales managers come Monday.

A few local kids run barefoot with handfuls of fish and chips, while Mum and Dad look on like tattooed extras from Outrageous Fortune. Cappuccino-sipping tourists and urban refugees like us complete the laidback picture.

It's a rare sunny December afternoon, so most drinkers are under market umbrellas in the garden bar. It's a shame, because the pub's interior conceals a treasure trove of memorabilia.

Vintage pics of Auckland and All Black rugby compete with another Black Caps capitulation live on the telly. A United Nations of faded banknotes papers the bar, many from countries that now have new borders and even newer names.

Memories of the area's original 1860s settlers from Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) are studded amidst the 150-year-old kauri walls, and I settle on a hoppy Budvar from modern Bohemia as my own tribute.

Outside, a unique automotive floorshow is enlivening the punters in the garden bar. Departing drinkers are spinning smoking, rubber-eating wheelies at the bottom of the road.

A Toyota van makes a first, relatively feeble effort. Ten minutes later, a hotted-up Mazda adds a few seconds and a few metres to the Toyota's efforts. A fire-engine red Mustang finally gets it right with a deliciously extended, wildly smoking exit, and the hirsute huddle in the pub roars its approval. Try doing that on Ponsonby Road.

Puhoi Pub & Hotel has been reviewed by 4 users

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