Today we visited the most northern pub in the South Island, as featured in our book, “The Great Kiwi Pub Crawl”. The sign, attached to an old tree truck, showed us the way to the carpark.
Mussel Inn at Onekaka, Golden Bay, is not an old pub, by any means, and was built in 1992. But it has an older, almost hippy feel to it. Perhaps it is the fact that this timber built pub has a large verandah. Timber plays a big part in this pub, as all the table tops, large and small, have been created from a single tree. Surrounded by native bush, and shaded by colorful sails, the outside seating area was very inviting indeed on a hot sunny day. And would be rather nice on sultry evenings when the musicians come to perform, I would imagine.
Inside was more timber and rustic decorations. The pub was built by Andrew and Jane Dixon, who after building wooden cabins for sale, decided to have a career change and build their own pub. It is said than on the opening day back in 1992, there was a queue of locals waiting at the door, and business is still booming. There are a row of hooks above the bar for the local’s beer mugs. Apparently, this number is finite, and the only way for a new comer to get his own beer mug hanging is to be left one in a will from a friend or family member!
We were there for lunch, and a steady stream of customers had the same idea. Robin chose a beef and black beer pie, and I tried the mussel chowder (with garlic bread). Yes, I know I’ve confessed that I’m not really a fan of mussels, but dining at a place with a name like the Mussel Inn, I decided to try the chowder – very tasty as it turned out. The pub brews it’s own beer, cider, lemonade and ginger beer. Robin ordered a Pale Whale, and I had a glass of lemonade. Finishing up with coffee and carrot cake, so yummy.
Beef and black beer pie, and mussel chowder
The bathrooms are different too, with composting toilets and the inside walls covered with colourful posters, and on one side, rows and rows of their own beer stickers. I didn’t think you really needed to see the toilet, but the walls are worth admiring.
Inside the loo
It seems the owners have a bit of a thing about cell phones. Perhaps they don’t like the sort of customers who talk loudly on their phones when they should be having a quiet beer with their friends. There is a big pole festooned with cell phones – perhaps warning those who can’t live without them that they could be snatched away and dealt with?
And for those repeat offenders, there are some more cell phones nailed above the door
Owner Jane Dixon came to chat with us, and kindly wrote a message in our book. This was a lovely, warm, friendly pub, with great food, and we are so pleased we called.