Thistle Inn Steps

FIND THESE STEPS – The Inn is at the Parliament end of town at 3 Mulgrave Street, near the Wellington Railway Station  and the bus station.

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Although these steps aren’t as famous as Plimmer’s Steps and Church Street, they are well known and used, and historic since they lead you up to the oldest pub in Wellington.

The original pub was built in 1840 – the year also of the Waitangi Treaty – but the building burnt in July 1866. This is the replacement, built by the end of 1866, and still standing although it has experienced many modernising efforts since.

My first visit was in 1994 when the lunch crowd was full of workers from the railway and wharfs. It was packed with men talking loudly.  The whole place went quiet when I walked in alone.  I walked to the bar, ordered a beer, and took a sip, and all the noise started up again, and I was welcomed to a standing table for a chat with curious patrons. Apparently it was not then a usual place a woman for a beer at lunch but now it is upscale but still friendly.

At the other end of town, near the top of Cuba Street, is another building entirely – Thistle Hall – and often confused for this pub. An important distinction.

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The National Archives (with 7 million archives) is around the corner on Mulgrave Street and further on Aitken Street and Molesworth Street is National Library – the new location for the original Treaty of Waitangi.