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About the Backbencher
The Backbencher Gastropub is a NZ and Wellington institution. It existed as the Wellington Hotel from the early 1900's until it was renovated into the Backbencher in 1990 and launched by the Prime Minister of the time, Jim Bolger. In 1997 the current owners bought the building and business. In 2012 the pub was devastated by two fires and was refurbished back toward its original layout and design. It was reopened by John Key and the leaders of all the major NZ political parties in February, 2013 to a fanfare of media publicity and public expectation.
Alistair Boyce is probably Wellington's longest serving publican who has been involved in the pub almost continuously since its 1990 re-establishment. "Boycie" is the happily institutionalised chef with a political science and history degree who directs the operations, menu and puppet satire. Boycie lives and breathes the ebbs and flows of politics, food & beverages and is supported by a valuable crew of staff. In 2005 the Pub expanded upstairs into dedicated function rooms and opened the popular local espresso bar and bottleshop, "Cellar-vate" next door on Molesworth st..
The Backbencher Gastropub enjoys a huge national profile driven by mainstream media who cannot resist the photo opportunities provided by the everchanging puppet satire. Not only do the country's Prime Minister's and leading politicians continue to enjoy unveiling the latest puppet creations in their honour but in recent years the Pub has also had its own TV show called, funnily enough, "Back benches". This show has run for over 5 years and will return to our TV screens via Prime in 2014 up until the next general election.
The Backbencher prides itself on being a very local Wellington institution. The pub has been the homebase for the Yellow Fever supporters movement since the launch of the Wellington Phoenix Football Club in 2007. The close proximity to the stadium has meant the Pub has always been the ideal location before and after All black, Lions and Hurricanes rugby games as well as concerts. There is always ample parking and an easy walk to the stadium.