On Saturday I made the rather bad decision to go to the Black Caps versus South Africa game at Eden Park. It was cold, we lost and the most interesting thing that happened was a fat man in a Waikato shirt and a Queen Liz mask ran up and down every aisle of the stadium. And, of course, there was no decent beer.

Luckily the day was not a complete loss. Martin Bridges, Auckland SOBA organiser and general haver of great ideas, suggested meeting at Sandringham’s The RB (Rugby Buildings) for some pre-match bevies. It was a great idea and I would freely and enthusiastically recommend a trip to The RB. The building itself is delightful – it has the air of someone trying to convert their house to a bar and getting most of the way there, then decided they’d rather just chill out – which gives it a nice, relaxed atmosphere. Downstairs there are small tables and a comfortable couch next to the small bar. Upstairs it’s sort of been knocked through, so the rooms are almost open plan and there’s another small bar. (One of the upstairs tables has a particularly good feature – you can see the Eden Park noticeboard, and check if the cricket is going ahead).

The staff were relaxed and friendly. They joked, they were informative and they didn’t take offence when I said I didn’t drink Moa. Their knowledge of the beer was more customer-based than knowledge-based (as in, they know so-and-so normally drinks that particular beer), but this was quite nice – it just added to the neighbourhood local feeling they have going on.

The food was amazing. The roasted vege salad was fresh and full of flavour, and as much as I enjoyed it, I was still jealous of my friends’ choices – a massive sausage roll and golden fish pies – particularly when they told me how delicious it was. To go with the tasty food, they also have tasty beers. There’s the full range of Moa beers, if you’re that way inclined, but even better they have five Yeastie Boys beers in bottle and a couple of Epics. I chose the Hud-a-wa as my pre-match beer and was blown away. I’m not sure whether it was a new batch or perhaps fresh is not best, but this Hud-a-wa tasted amazing – slightly sweet, but balanced and moreish. Then, for my it’s-still-raining beer I had a PKB, which was chocolately goodness in a glass. (I think I’ll put ‘drink more Yeastie Boys’ on my to-do list).

If you’re after a pre-, post- or during match beer, I heartily recommend The RB. It’ll buoy you up if you’re (quite rightly) worried about the Black Caps losing, or soothe away the pain when they (inevitably) lose. I also assume it’d be wonderful for other (more cheerful) sporting events, or even just as an event in itself.

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