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68 College Hill Road,
Freemans Bay

(09) 376 4230

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byBrett Atkinson29/02/2008

3 out of 5 stars

There’s been a pub on this College Hill corner since 1866; originally it was called the Suffolk. Now in a third century, one of Auckland’s oldest drinking establishments is dubbed the Cavalier Tavern, and is carrying on a proud tradition of being a dependable, neighbourhood pub.

Mind you, the neighbourhood’s changed a bit over the years, and now the Cavalier’s a handy watering whole for the good people of gentrified Ponsonby, Herne Bay and St Mary’s Bay. The view from the expansive deck is also markedly different from the tough days of working class Ponsonby, and now there are vistas of the Sky Tower and downtown Auckland. Nearby nikau palms and cabbage trees surround old villas, and after a waterfront table, the Cavalier could be one of the city’s best spots for a few afternoon beers. Especially on a perfect cloudless day when the weather gods have remembered it’s meant to be the height of summer.

Inside the same mix of old and new is evident. Cool designer colours trim the old heritage bones of the building, and on a big screen TV the Blues are dealing to a bunch of tired-looking South Africans.

If the deck is the drawcard during afternoons and on summer evenings, heading into autumn the Cavalier becomes a great spot to watch the rugby or the league. There’s a wider than normal range of beers on tap, including Mac’s, Guinness and Steinlager, and there’s also Mac’s cider if you’re really looking to recreate nights of hanging out in traditional English pubs in London.

But despite the English-style ambience, the Cavalier’s an essentially Kiwi pub. Everyone’s welcome from younger types wearing Huffer T-shirts and thongs, to older businessman sharing a few pints and wishing they didn’t have to wear a collar and tie in the height of summer. Tunes from Th’ Dudes and Bic Runga reflect the fading summer light outside, and steak, burgers and a vaguely international range of bar snacks provide sustenance through the longest session.

Auckland’s drinkers have been crowding to this spot for more than 140 years. You get the idea it could be a while yet before anything else takes the place of this welcoming spot that’s providing essential services to the surrounding neighbourhood.

The Cav has been reviewed by 3 users

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