After starts and stops and delayed openings (thanks to You-Know-Who) the ground level of Shellhouse, the Menzies Bar, is finally open. The name is an homage to the building's former life as the Menzie Hotel and believe it when we say, where once stood a sports bar-cum-brawl room, is now a very schmick new face.
Entering from Margaret Street, above Wynyard Station, you'll be immediately struck by the beauty of this CBD haunt - the room is dominated by an oval bar, topped with a sleek jet counter with a warm halo of light emanating from hidden recesses within. Old-world style monochrome tiles contrast with textured and earthy-hued walls. The dining space is dotted with bentwood chairs and tables of two and four, but if you can score a plush leather booth, you'll be in the prime people-watching zone. This is absolutely the playground of the CBD office-worker and whispers of future after-work drinks and Tinder dates echo around the room. But try and get the company card – because you'll need it.
For a five o’clock knock-off, the wine list, while eye-wateringly expensive, is exceptional. It's creative and diverse, with $70 bottles of Victorian pet-nat sitting pretty on the same page as a $495 Perrier-Jouet Champagne, and while there's absolutely a time and place for the French fizz, you'll be just as happy ordering from the top of the list as you will the bottom. When it comes to the dining offering, if you have deep pockets your cash is perhaps better splashed at a degustation at Quay or Sixpenny. But if you’re looking for a bit of conscious city opulence and a convenient feed on the fancier side, this is certainly the place to do it.