The most excellent beer in the most unpretentious way. Ian takes massive pride in stocking only the best craft beer and will happily spend time finding you the right beer for your tastes, even if you're not usually a beer-drinker (but if hops really aren't your thing, you won't be left out in the cold). The food is fantastic and casual, and the deck out front regularly plays host to some great bands, making for wicked fun. It all adds up to being the best bar around.
On a day trip out of Auckland a couple of weekends ago, we chanced upon Tahi Bar. From the moment we walked into this modest joint off of a small alley in central Warkworth, we knew we had discovered something special. The beer selection and menu looked out of this world; far better than the ho-hum standards you find at so many Auckland bars. Although we had just eaten elsewhere (unfortunately!), we stuck around to sample some of their beer. Ian, one of the proprietors, greeted us with a smile and walked us through his tap beers. He was able to describe their provenance and qualities in a non-snobby way that made each choice seem like a bit of treasure waiting to be tasted. He invited my partner behind the bar to ogle the huge array of bottles in the coolers. They specialize in New Zealand beers and are quite proud of the fact that they don't serve the usual limited assortment of industrial swill. In my eternal quest for the not mediocre, these guys went way above and beyond. The space itself is quite unusual. There is a small front bar area where locals stand at the bar or sit at tables on banquettes. There are a couple more seats beyond the bar, where the kitchen window lives. Beyond a door in the back is an outdoor area that seats many more. It can be reserved for functions and looks like a great place to have a small party. There are several seats and a deck outside the front of Tahi. I imagine that in summer months, the place rocks on a toasty evening. We plan to make Tahi Bar a must-stop whenever we get out of Auckland for destinations north. Highly recommended.