Down in Port Chalmers we came across another pub featured in our book, the Great Kiwi Pub Crawl, written by Bartlett and Corfe. It was the Portsider, built in 1880, “composed of Port Chalmers bluestone foundation, with brick and cement upper works”, I read. We had just driven back from Aramoana and were looking for somewhere to have lunch.
The Portsider, Port Chalmers
In the bad old days, there was a multitude of pubs for visiting sailors arriving in port to frequent. Including this one, which was originally called the Marine Hotel, and it appeared have be in the centre of trouble right from the beginning. There are records of the publican appearing in court to answer charges of permitting disorderly content, selling liquor out of hours, and supplying alcohol to intoxicated persons. And occasionally the publican appeared in court as a victim of theft and assault.
After years of liquor fuelled trouble the people of Port Chalmers voted for the area to go dry in 1902, and the visiting sailors headed straight through to the bright lights of Dunedin for their drunken pleasures. This was reversed in 1905, with the Marine Hotel being one which had survived the several years of reduced earnings for several years. Although the publican’s wife at the time, Cecilia Furk, used to bolster the takings by selling grog without a license. All that came to an end when she was charged with selling beer and whiskey to a couple of undercover policemen!
Our friend Colin told tales of coming to this pub in his younger working life. Back then it was a very popular and busy watering hole, packed to the gunnels with blokes looking for a cold beer after a busy day’s work. The Portsider was bought in 2013 by Pip Honeychurch and Hanz Dekker, who gave the old place a good facelift. With Hanz being an accomplished chef from Amsterdam, our meals were very tasty indeed. Our choices ranged from fish, beef burger, seared beef salad, and vegetarian risotto, all cooked and served with flair.
Mine Hosts, Hanz and Pip
So we have now visited our second pub from the list of 50 in our Great Kiwi Pub Crawl book. I know that there are many more down here in the South Island, so perhaps we be the right area to call in to another one or two as we travel around.