I feel offended. I have fond memories of the St’s Harbourside bar. It was the best underage drinking establishment in Tauranga back in the early 1980s. The bar staff would tip us off if the police were going to do an underage raid. Thanks to them I never got caught.
Today I found this book, pictured below, The Travellers’ Guide to Pubs of the North Island by Ian Jenkins. This man spent a summer visiting and rating more than 500 North Island pubs in 1982/83. Back then he gave the St a one-star rating – now that’s a crime! He rated pubs from five-stars – excellence – to one-star – a “forgettable drinking hole”.
I remember watching Graham’s band play in the Harbourside Bar and buying cheap wine from the bottle store. Jenkins writes this about the St: “The bars here are appallingly dark, smoky and diapidated. Come here for the experience, or a meal if you’re really hungry.”
According to www.downtowntauranga.co.nz, the St is the oldest remaining hotel building in Tauranga, built in 1917. I believe it is now a backpackers.
He also gave The Tauranga Hotel one-star and writes, “The Tauranga, possibly grand in its heyday, now rates as a dive. The public bar is tolerable, there was no one in the lounge bar and it’s all DB beer on sale.”
The old Masonic gets two-stars probably because it had live jazz in the lounge bar every Tuesday night.
The Star Hotel, cnr Elizabeth St and Grey St, also gets one-star. “Yet another inner city smoky public bar which would be quite unremarkable but for the long ‘oasis’ which pushes out into the room like an extended finger, the barmen standing in the centre, besieged by customers on both sides,” says Jenkins.
The Greerton Motor Inn gets three-stars as does the Otumoetai Trust (please remember this is back in 1982/1983).
And here is another crime (besides the council allowing it to be pulled down)- he gives the Oceanside Hotel only two-stars. “A massive black marlin keeps silent vigil on a wild and woolly public bar from his perch on the wall,” writes Jenkins. Does anyone know what happened to the dead fish when the pub was demolished?