Tinky’s Tavern is a real multi-purpose place. It runs a takeaway (the fish burger is outstanding) and dine-in restaurant. Then there is an alcohol (and chocolate bar) off-license, which also unofficially functions as the town’s ATM if you need cash. And there’s the bar, outdoor kids’ play area, and picnic tables right on the water’s edge with a stunning view up the Aorere river and valley.
Run by a group of local women who know just how to juggle working across the various parts of the establishment, Tinky’s Tavern hums along from mid morning till night.
According to the chalkboard, Tinky’s philosophy to life is no-nonsense, and a tad unforgiving.
Perhaps not the spot to pitch up at the bar in search of sympathetic advice.
The bar is fitted out in celebration of rural bloke culture: framed rugby jerseys and photos of iconic All Blacks from the 1990s fill the walls, as well as mounted plaques listing the winners of the annual Tinky-sponsored stag and pig hunting festivals.
Tinky’s is the perfect spot for a pie and some hot chips. I don’t write about pies that come from restaurants on this blog, but Tinky’s still fits my bill. (My rules are if they have a pie warmer that customers can inspect, the pies are cheap, and you can buy them to takeaway, then they are legit).
On the day we visited there were four options, and we chose the steak and cheese. The pastry was soft, buttery and nicely browned. And the pie was filled with chunky, tender steak and a top layer of tasty, real cheese (not that weird, whitish processed stuff you something’s get in steak and cheese pies). After his first bite, my son went a little crazy for it, and wouldn’t keep his hands off it long enough for me to take a photo.
It was raining, one of those unrelenting downpours that you sometimes get in Golden Bay, which sends people home from work early for fear the roads will flood. Tinky’s was the perfect place for us to pass some wet weather time drinking pink milkshakes, having fun, and getting on each other’s nerves, the way families inevitably do on holiday together.
Tinky’s pies are worthy of their local reputation, and worthy of a visit every time.