After travelling through acre after acre of new subdivisions you will finally arrive at the heart of Lincoln’s township, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the old brick building housing the Laboratory is one that dates back to the beginnings of Lincoln. But no, it was designed and built in 2015 by the owners Martin and Lisa Bennett using recycled materials from earthquake damaged Christchurch.
The Laboratory offers an excellent range of craft beer brewed onsite, including some English style hand-pulled real ales straight from the cask. The popular wood fired pizzas and tapas-style plates are designed to be shared and at the weekend they have a brunch menu. There’s a comprehensive wine list, an exciting range of whisky to be found in the little snug bar.
Though The Laboratory’s food and drink offerings are decent enough, the venue’s décor is something to behold. The large space features stripped back brick walls, high-beamed ceilings and the old bar counter from the Hororata Hotel. A toasty log burner takes pride of place in the restaurant’s centre and outside in the courtyard there’s a fire for cooler evenings too. The Laboratory is an eclectic mix of mismatched old furniture, kitsch Royal Doutlon wash basins, lamps and knick knacks. There’s plenty to remind you of your schooldays spent in the science lab too: Bunsen burners hold table numbers, flasks carry water and beakers are used for sampling the brews. Upstairs is a cosy lounge filled with retro couches, red glowing mannequins as lights and there is even an opium bed (brought by the owners from their previous home in Indonesia)!
For the film buffs amongst us there is a boutique cinema with 15 plush seats showing all of the latest movies. You can book it out for a private screening for you and your friends, a kids birthday or even show your own film. Families are always welcome and the beer garden and adjoining village green is a great place for the kids to run a round and enjoy the ride on toys and games.
A place with plenty of character and bucketfuls of charm, The Laboratory is well worth the drive from the city, you never know, it may even make it worth buying one of those new houses!