It is awesome.
Is it the best?
Depends what you are after... Malthouse, Hashigo Zake and Bar Ed (all Wgtn) are awesome but all quite different.
Also in Wellington (and much different again) is D4 - another great spot.
I'll leave Chch and Dunedin to the people from there. And Greig to wax lyrical about the Ruakura!
Haha, nope. The old RCC is a great place to drink, but it's hard to wax lyrical about somewhere so... functional! It's the people and the beer which make it great though, and for that, I love it to bits. Plan K on soon... Golden Ticket just got inhaled.
I'd say Pom's as they have a good range of resident craft beers on tap (Harrington's, Emerson's, Three Boys etc) and guest beers every month. The Twisted Hop is also excellent providing a range of their own beers and a few guest taps. Neither have the range that the Malthouse provides but they are ours (takes eye patch off for rest of day).
I'll second that. Visited Pom's for the first time a few weeks back and was blown away by just what a nice environment it was to drink beer in. We even ran into that old soak Neil Miller! ;) As my wife, Craig Bowen, or the dynamic Golden Ticket duo will tell you, I just kept beaming and saying "I want this pub to be in Hamilton". And I swear, it wasn't the beer!
Anyone noticed what the common element at all of the best places is?
From a Wellington point of view:
It's not the rarest beers from the weirdest places - no one beats Hashigo for that.
It's not the widest range - Malthouse wins hands down.
It's not the best tasting tap beer at the best temperature - Bar Edward has the edge there.
It's the great staff. Of course I can walk into these places and talk to the staff, because I know a lot of them, but ANYONE can walk into these places and have a decent chat with ANY of the bar staff. They can give good advice but most importantly they can hold a conversation (and do their job!).