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May 19, 2008 | by  | in Features |
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Night Life

It does not take an exceedingly sober individual to spot the different folks that stride down Cuba Street once night falls. The cute emo kids, the barefoot ferals, the bums – it all adds to the exciting atmosphere that is Cuba Street. Drinking a ridiculous amount of Kristov did not impair my ability to be slightly embarrassed when my tragically hip indie friends spotted me stumbling around Courtney Place singing Britney Spears’ ‘You Wanna Piece of Me’ at the top of my lungs. I can appreciate the two worlds of Cuba and Courtenay but some people stick loyally to their side of the Wellington night life. A Salient Feature Writer explores the ins and outs of the two streets for those unwilling to appreciate both.

Trashtastic Courtenay Place

Patrons of Cuba Street bars are in general after different experiences than their Courtenay Place counterparts. This may explain the difference in bars on the two streets. Ever since first year I have noticed the invisible line that exists between the two areas. ‘Cuba Streeters’ will have you think that Courtenay Place is a soulless abyss where trashy girls go to be groped by ugly boys. For the most part they are right. I am sure many people like myself have hesitated when telling people “Shooters was off the hook last night.” Yes, that’s right, Shooters. Shooters is chock full of what every trashy bar needs – loose morals, lenient/stupid bouncers, impossible stairs mixed together with a lethal dosage of ‘flo rida.’

My first foray into Shooters was not by choice. More necessity, as no other bar would let me in due to my extremely inebriated state. I am not ashamed to say that night was one of the best nights I have had in town. The lights, the music and the atmosphere were awesome – just don‘t ask for a cocktail. Their bartenders are undoubtedly the worst in Wellington. I have asked for a Sex on the Beach (when I’m intoxicated I am a steaming pile of oestrogen and ask for the most ‘sexual’ drink I can think of), which looked like the slosh bucket under the bar that picks up the excess spilt alcohol and tasted like blood and rust. Do not get me started on when they made me a tequila sunrise with no sunrise!

Electric Avenue has also been host to many fond but hazy memories, with its high velocity lights and cheesy Nineties music. Nothing beats breaking out the robot to the Jackson 5 in Boogie Wonderland (and more importantly the bouncers are prone to waiving the entrance fee if you’re a girl). There are a few exceptions to this trashy paradise, the most important of these being Shot Shack – the little slice of hell just out of Manners Mall. Upon entering the shack you will hear such pick up lines as “ya wanna root?” I do not think I have ever stayed in a bar for such a short amount of time.

Coyote is adjacent Shooters and is vile. Security is useless- it seems they have a no means yes mentality. No matter how uncomfortable you look or how much you struggle, the bouncers will assume you want your arse to be dry humped by some barney. In Coyote a guy once came up to me and simply bent his knees and assumed the ‘dry hump’ position waiting for me to ‘get on’ like a naughty cow girl. Guys in Coyote are renowned for their sense of entitlement – and will be surprised when you slap them for groping you. What shocked me even more was when this happened to me while I was innocently doing the running man in the corner. Another tactic they pull is picking the drunkest girl in the room, sidling on up to her and just groping her from behind. Filthy.

It is important for guys to realise that just because a lot of girls on Courtenay Place may let them get away with acting like predators does not mean they all will or for that matter like it. A downside of Courtenay Place in general is its ability to attract sluts. Not the good kind of slut either – not ‘the sexually liberated cool chick who as no problem with casual sex’ but the ‘take it any way they can get it’ sort. These girls are most often, but not always, from the ‘Naki. I saw some ‘Naki girl vomiting just outside the Establishment. I knew she was from the ‘Naki because her friend proceeded to scream at passers by, “yeah yeah we do it hard in the ‘Naki,” stomping her white knee high boots. Her friend proceeded to try and hit on a guy while still vomiting. Girls from the ‘Naki sure know how to multi-task.

The Oh-so-tragically alternative Cuba Street.

Do not be fooled. Cuba Street is home to sleazy individuals too, they just prefer a less direct approach. I love Bodega with its English pub feel and variety of live bands – no matter what band is playing good times will be had. If I want a good cocktail I go to the San Fran. The bar staff are ridiculously nice and make cocktails that taste like liquid heaven. The San Fran balcony is also good for having an exceedingly pretentious wanky conversation (including but not limited to East Asian politics and Wellington architecture) and a smoke, two very important things.

Despite my embarrassing inclination towards bubble gum pop my music collection is not filled with such things so one would think I would be able to appreciate Valve, Bodega’s dirty cousin. Valve is situated next to a brothel and is across the road from what is most likely the creepiest looking strip club in New Zealand. The door charge is overpriced and I can’t tell you if the live bands are any good because every time I go there they have been too drunk to play their instruments properly. Either that or they are really bad. You do not have to remind me how bad the music is on Courtney Place but if you cannot appreciate the thrill one gets when dancing to ‘Bootylicious’ by Destiny’s Child you obviously take yourself too seriously. Another reason Valve is a black mark on Cuba Street is the bogans and indie kids it attracts. You should see how these kids dance. They dance as if their life depended on it… god forbid one of them actually smiles. Valve and other bars on Cuba are a hideous reminder of how Wellington can turn something like indie rock’n’roll into a pretentious activity.

You know the indie kids I’m talking about. They surround the Cuba Street area like a bad but somehow self righteous smell. They casually mention a band name to you in the most aloof manner (I swear they just make them up) and then say smugly “Oh but you would have never heard them…. they are way too obscure.” Although the Black Eyed Peas’ lyrical content (e.g.”they say I’m really sexy, the boys they want to sex me”) is not exactly award winning let’s look at a Wellington local band’s lyrics shall we. Holiday With Friends wrote a song about a ‘hott watter’ bottle (that’s not a spelling mistake that’s’ just how edgy Holiday With Friends are… one t is just not good enough!)

Although the Courtney Place side of the night is arguabley where you would get it more trouble the Cuba Street area offers a very different kind of trouble which I found out the hard way. A bum/possible street walking prostitute walked up to me and asked if she could borrow my phone. My instincts told me this was a bad idea but I politely obliged her as I did not want to look rude. As soon as she had my phone she was running down Cuba Street. Like a moron I ran after her. Once I had caught up with her she tried to hide behind the big green lizard by the bucket fountain but I was on to her. I snatched the phone off her and walked away triumphantly. She then started screaming at passers by “She didn’t pay me, she didn’t pay me.” The promiscuous dress and ‘junkie air’ about this women caused some disgusted and confused looks towards me. I just ran away, phone in hand, and hid in Mighty Mighty.

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Comments (6)

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  1. Diane Young says:

    whhat? Is this really the coverstory? haha. Really?

  2. Sarah says:

    So as i proceded to read this piece I found myself laughing so hard I had to check my knickers incase a bit of pee escaped. Now when I say this I don’t want people to think I am incapable of containing the fluids in my bladder but it was just that funny. My favourite bit would have to be, “Not the good kind of slut either – not ‘the sexually liberated cool chick who as no problem with casual sex’ but the ‘take it any way they can get it’ sort. These girls are most often, but not always, from the ‘Naki. I saw some ‘Naki girl vomiting just outside the Establishment. I knew she was from the ‘Naki because her friend proceeded to scream at passers by, “yeah yeah we do it hard in the ‘Naki,” stomping her white knee high boots”. This is actually so goddamn funny even the copy and paste I just did made me relive the moment my eyes first met with the words… Good work, your my goddamn hero!

  3. Diane Young says:

    Hahaha thanks.
    Tristan liked that bit as well. Poor Naki girls.

  4. Jen says:

    What is the use of having two clubbing parallels if you can’t enjoy elements of both? All so very true. Love it, love it.

  5. olly says:

    mean article diane young,
    you wrote so much that has to be said – especially about the cuba st side of things – I work at a cafe on cuba and know exactly the kind of vibe. reckon you’d love a book called ‘The Rebel Sell’, it’d be a vic books. By the sounds of things you’ve either read it already or don’t have to!
    nice one

  6. bisw says:

    then why suggest it

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