I had the structure of this post all worked out in my head. It was going to be so easy to write, along the lines of ‘I went to Hamilton and found an amazing craft beer bar. Seriously, in Hamilton.’ Then I found out someone had already written it. And he had nice photos. It’s good, you should read it.

The amazing craft beer bar I speak of is House on Hood. It’s a place that raises some interesting questions. It’s obviously been successful – when I visited last Thursday the place was comfortably busy and I heard rumours that with the help of the craft beer on tap, House managed to get into the black a lot sooner that many bars do.

But why? And can the reasons for its success be applied in other provincial centres? Would a similar bar work in New Plymouth or Napier? Or in larger centres like Auckland?

I’ll readily admit I don’t know the answers to these questions. But here are some points to consider:
– House doesn’t sell itself as a craft beer bar. Looking at their website there’s no mention of craft beer.
– House is the official home of the Chiefs rugby team, a regular income source. I didn’t talk to a wide enough range of people, but this doesn’t seem to put off the craft beer punters.
– It had all the things that a bar (craft beer or not) needs – lovely, friendly, competent staff who know their product, nice central location and a great building. Maybe they just got the basics rights?

Whatever the reasons, I hope House on Hood continues to prosper and that other New Zealand towns develop their own version of a local craft beer bar.  And maybe, one day, someone might eventually develop something similar that works here in Auckland. Until then, I’m in a position I’ve never been before – I’m envious of Hamilton.