I Caught Them Walking on a Dream – Major Toms | Interview

21 December 2009
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Mount Maunganui just got a whole lot cooler with the opening of your new friendly neighbourhood bar, Major Toms. Despite only opening a week ago, Executive ‘In Charge of Everything’ Hamish Mathieson says Major Toms has seen a bevy of patrons ranging from the cool kids to local wash ups, suits and even a local spoons player.

The bar is the brainchild of three friends, Jay Smith, Karen Downey and Hamish Mathieson. The motivation to open Major Toms was initially out of pure frustration.

“We all love Mount Maunganui and feel like it has so much to offer but we felt there wasn’t a bar that catered for me and my friends. What we’ve done with Major Toms is create a ‘home away from home’ for our friends, old and new,” says Mathieson.

Unlike other bars in the Mount, Major Toms really does feel like you are hanging out at your buddies’ house. The polished concrete floors are proof of this with guests often sitting cross-legged on the floor while others lounge on the couches (the most amazing second hand red regal couch by the way! You will feel a lot more superior than you actually are sitting on this bad boy, I swear).

Major Toms Bar - Mt MaunganuiMajor Toms Bar - Mt Maunganui

Major Toms Bar - Mt MaunganuiMajor Toms Bar - Mt Maunganui

The interiors are like stepping into your grandma’s retro dream home, but cooler. Furnishings and products were sourced from garage sales, Trade Me and yard sales. Sara Moon’s, Lynch prints, mismatched lampshades and even a stuffed Stag head are some of the bits and bobs you can find in Major Toms.

The staff at Major Toms are led by bar manager Bridget and they are the first to admit she is the only one who knows what she’s doing.

“My recommended drink of choice is The Sex-Wax. It’s the only cocktail I know how to make, but it’s tasty. Bridget knows how to make a million delicious drinks though so order tricky stuff from her,” says Mathieson.

Major Toms Bar - Mt MaunganuiMajor Toms Bar - Mt Maunganui

Major Toms Bar - Mt MaunganuiMajor Toms Bar - Mt Maunganui

The concept for Major Toms was originally just a place for Mathieson’s wide group of friends to kick back and relax, but there are no restrictions on guests. The friendly team at Major Toms make you feel more than welcome – often personally greeting you as you walk in the front courtyard.

It’s the personalisation that will make Major Toms your first-choice hangout. Knowing the staff and the owners take interest in getting to know you makes it all the more different from everywhere else in the Mount.

“There are some great bars in the Mount but they cater for a very different demographic to us,” says Mathieson.

“If I was a cashed up 50 year old I’d have a bunch of different bars to choose from. Most of them have dress codes that were made in 1993 or something. No hats, no beanies, no jackets with hoods? At Major Toms, we don’t have a dress code – our environment dictates what sort of person comes in not some bouncer with no idea about fashion”.

You can expect an eclectic music playlist at Major Toms but David Bowie features high on the list (funny that!) as well as a lot of tracks from days gone by.

“We don’t really have a strict theme for music. This week we’ve been playing a lot of The Beatles, The Cure, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Blondie and Phoenix,” said Mathieson.

Major Toms Bar - Mt Maunganui

Fans of Major Toms can also make suggestions on the Facebook Fan Page, Major Toms website and soundcloud – the team were directed to ‘Home’ by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros this week and has instantly gone into high rotation.

Major Toms has everything you would want in a bar. There’s no pretentiousness (you can get a sweet Castlepoint crate beer for your spare change), there’s an outdoor area (that has SUN all afternoon), it’s the perfect people watching spot, there’s a resident miniature wiener dog (she is the biggest scab so guard your food with your life!), the staff are relaxed and friendly and sooner than you can say, “I’m heading to Major Toms tonight,” you’ll know everyone on a first name basis. Oh and did I mention they whip up a mean bowl of curly fries?

So, what do you think about all this?