When faced with where to go in Neutral Bay, not only on a Wednesday night, but any night really, Honey Rider is the obvious choice. It's been open for a little over a year now but I rarely venture that way, as it's a little sleepy for my liking. Venture that way I did on Wednesday night for an "interesting" catch up (the use of inverted commas around such a word as interesting only means one thing: awkward).
Honey Rider was not what I was expecting. It was much smaller than I had anticipated. I knew it was small, but it is tiny, and I didn't think it was going to be a plastic-high-stool kind of place, I thought it was going to be more of a low-mismatched-bentwood- chair kind of place. It also didn't seem to have as much atmosphere as I thought it would. It was quiet, I could hear crickets.
The drinks though, were damn good, and that's really what matters. I start with an Eastside: Tanqueray, lime juice, mint, sugar, cucumber, shaken and strained. It is fresh and suave, like a handsome man in a beige linen suit, who owns a yacht, but is not all "Look at me! I have a yacht."
I unfortunately do not have a photo as the lighting was rather low and my "drinking buddy" refused to help out by providing light from his phone. Thanks.
I am not hungry, as I have just come from sampling the entire Christmas range at Haigh's Chocolates, but my friend is. Honey Rider does olives and mini pizzas. That's it. Convenient for them, not so much for us. Oh well, pizza it is. They are stock standard pizzas too. Pizzas kids enjoy. Nothing fancy.
We decide to go somewhere else for food or drinks or whatever. Everything is closing. It's 9.30pm. Come on Lower North Shore, get with the times. Sigh. We go back to Honey Rider. Luckily the bar staff are good humoured, and I enjoy talking to them and venting my frustrations about my friend (ex, to be frank) when he slips out for a moment. This is not a good night.
Not good nights however, are somewhat improved if one orders a cocktail with the rim of the glass coated in popping candy. The Bon Bon Margarita #2 is a fun, frivolous mix of 1800 Silver, Cointreau, strawberry, vanilla, citrus and popping candy.
It tastes like kids shampoo. Yum. This goes down a treat, unlike the rest of the evening, which just goes downhill.
Luckily, my darling Chloe comes to rescue me, although I was more than happy to just wait on the street alone... Anything to get me away from the bizarre, prickly affair that this Wednesday night had become.
Honey Rider will tickle your fancy if you have never been to a new, hip bar, as it will fool you into thinking that it is one. It has pretty awesome drinks, and the staff is cool, but it is not exactly the hottest ticket in town. It's more of a place you'd go to if you worked next door for a cocktail at the end of the day, and a yarn with the boys behind the bar, who seem like the sort who'd build up great rapport with regulars.