In the heart of the countryside lies a new nugget of urban cool. It’s in Matakana Country Park, tucked in behind the Stables restaurant. The vaulted ceiling gives Smiths bar an industrial feel, while a vintage bicycle, art by John Mulholland, and candles in sawn-off wine bottles catch the eye. The design is a fusion between a blacksmith’s (the building’s original purpose) and a 60s Kiwi bach, says owner/operator Woody Richards. Woody and his business partners built Smiths “to offer something unique to the area and to have a second venue for our locals to dine at when we host events and functions at The Stables.” Smiths is “more adult and creative” than their adjacent, established restaurant.

Style is matched with substance. Smiths is a premium Heineken bar that also showcases craft beer. You’ll find rare gin, vodka and NZ single malt whiskey, a list of classic cocktails made with love, and a predominantly local wine list.

As for the food, come prepared to share Smith’s carefully crafted small plates and platters. Woody says, “The dishes rotate from a library of recipes, showcasing around 20 at a time” – so you’ll need repeat visits to try them all.

Open: Tuesday to Friday, 4pm–late; Saturday & Sunday 12pm–late