Many 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.