The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Spotlight on a local: Hanging Ditch

Each week we will be featuring a local bar, pub or club to help boost the Kiwi hospitality industry and encourage customers to get out and explore!

This week, Jack Driver, General Manager of Hanging Ditch, shares an insight into this hideaway cocktail bar in Wellington.

How has business been going during this tough year?
It has been surprisingly good. Obviously it wasn’t ideal to shut the bar during lockdown, but understandably necessary. Post-lockdown we’ve seen a real upturn in business, which I believe is due to people looking to support local businesses more.

What have you been doing to encourage customers to come/come back to your local?
We’ve been trying to do more partnerships with local businesses, like Lashings and Wellington Chocolate Factory, which has been mutually beneficial to building our customer base. During Level 2, all bars were required to do table service, and since we’ve always been a table service bar, this played into our favour quite well. 

How would you describe the atmosphere of Hanging Ditch?
Chill, cosy and comfy. We want everyone to feel welcome and relaxed. Going out for a cocktail should be a fun experience and we want to be a part of that experience. 

What is your signature drink?
We don’t have a signature drink per se. However, our most popular drink recently has been the Larry Sherbet from our Brooklyn 99 themed menu. Vanilla vodka, passionfruit syrup, coconut cream, lemon juice, pineapple juice and house-made sherbet. 

Why do you think your local stands out from the crowd?
We hang our bottles from the ceiling! Aside from that, we make good drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. Cocktail bars can be intimidating, especially with so many unheard of drinks and spirits. We encourage branching out, perhaps try something new, but without any of the pressure. We don’t care if you want a dry martini, a long island iced tea, or just a glass of wine, we will always strive to make it the best experience possible. 

What are your 3 top tips for being a great bartender?
Be friendly, be consistent, and don’t be afraid to be weird. 

To nominate a local to be featured, email or send us a message on social media @theshoutnz!

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