New Zealand has many fine wines
and beers, which can be sampled
in cafés and restaurants
all over NZ. But for the lowest
prices and a genuine Kiwi atmosphere
you can't go past the pub ,
often known as a hotel from
the days when all drinking establishments
were required to have rooms for
revellers to sleep off a big night.
The pub or hotel is a place where
people stop off on their way home
from work, the emphasis being on
consumption and back-slapping kiwi
mateship, with ambience and decor
taking a back seat. In the cities,
where competition from cafés
is strong, pubs are sharpening
up their act and comfortable, relaxed
bars are more common, but in country
areas little has changed. Rural
pubs can initially be daunting
for strangers, but once you get
chatting, barriers soon drop. Some
pubs are still divided into the public
bar , a joyless Formica
and linoleum place where overalls
and work boots are the sartorial
order of the day, and the lounge
bar , where you are expected
to dress up (dress up, meaning
clean jeans) and are charged more
for the privilege.
There is barely any limitation on the hours you can drink, most bars shutting up around midnight on weeknights if it is quiet, and closer to 3am at theweekend. Until December 1999, arcane Sunday licensing laws forbade the sale of alcohol in shops and pretty much anywhere else unless it was accompanied by a meal. However, on Sundays you can now buy beer as well as wine in supermarkets, and get a drink without eating. The drinking age has been lowered to 18 (from 20) and anyone looking under 25 can expect to be asked for identification.
All New Zealand eating and drinking establishments now ban smoking inside.
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