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IMG_3617Many years ago there was a brew­ery in town called Bennett’s. Maurice Ben­nett was a great talk­er and always happy to show off his beers. There’s a whole story about how Maurice’s beers were made (spoil­er alert: not by him), but one beer in par­tic­u­lar always made me laugh: Santa Fe Dream­girls’ Lager.

At the time, Santa Fe was a strip club on Tarana­ki Street, oppos­ite where Hashigo Zake is now; it’s latest incarn­a­tion is Dream­girls on Dix­on Street. The lager was made by Maurice Ben­nett and became a rar­ity — and a sym­bol of sly mock­ing among beer drink­ers in New Zea­l­and — because you could drink one only if you got a lap­dance from the club. The beer itself was a light 4 per­cent lager — the type of thing strip club pat­rons usu­ally drink, but without the green bottle or ‘premi­um’ tag.

As far as I’m aware, it’s still the only craft beer made for, and served at, a strip club in New Zea­l­and. Com­pare this to Mary’s Club in Port­land, Ore­gon: “Mary’s has a full-ser­vice cock­tail bar and is proud to offer over 25 dif­fer­ent vari­et­ies of beer and wine. Mary’s has an extens­ive authen­t­ic Mex­ic­an res­taur­ant avail­able from 11.00am to 2.00am and if you like food oth­er than Mex­ic­an we offer stand­ard bar fare like pizza, chick­en nug­gets, jalapeno pop­pers and oth­er tasty appet­izers all day or night.”

I mean, that sounds like a pretty great bar, let alone a strip club! Pinups & Pints, a strip club in Ohio, went one step fur­ther and actu­ally brews beer on site.

So what do our premi­er strip clubs in Wel­ling­ton serve? After all, it is the craft beer cap­it­al, so surely some of the clubs in town would serve their cli­en­tele only the best beer?


Cal­en­dar Girls, also on Dix­on Street, is still cel­eb­rat­ing get­ting its liquor licence late last year. Your intrep­id report­er bit the bul­let and went to the now fully licensed Cal­en­dar Girls to see what was behind the bar.

The res­ult? Tiger and Export 33 on tap, Heinek­en and Amstel Light in the fridge. Which was really dis­ap­point­ing. I don’t know what I was expect­ing, but even The Lanes, the bowl­ing alley on Wake­field Street, serves Pan­head White­wall and Black Dog Chomp. I chat­ted to the bar­tender, and he said that before they got their licence they were selling beers and ciders that were under 0.5 per­cent ABV.

It’s a sneaky way around the law, but what would a strip club be without beer? I didn’t ask what they served in the Whis­key Lounge though.