Queenstown's Best Kept Secret
You'll find Atlas Beer Cafe nestled away in a corner of the Steamer Wharf, Queenstown. Unassuming from the outside, you'll probably miss it if you don't know what you're looking for. Step inside and you'll be greeted by a roaring fireplace, a room packed full of locals catching up over a pint, and the friendliest staff in town. It won't take long for you to see just why Atlas has become a veteran of the Queenstown food scene. If you've heard talk of the infamous $20 steak, then you've heard of Atlas. And whilst their steaks are a firm favourite among locals and tourists alike, they're not just a one-trick pony. With a new menu featuring some delicious veggie options, we headed down for a chat with manager Wes to see what Atlas is all about.
What brought you to Queenstown and what kept you here?
I'm originally from Canada and after living in Australia for 2 years I decided to head to Queenstown, mostly because of recommendations from friends! It's definitely the variety of activities you can do in Queenstown that kept me here. I can hike and snowboard and I started biking here as well. It's a great base for travelling around the South Island and I love the outdoors way of life.
How did you end up working at Atlas?
I heard about Atlas through a friend who was living in Queenstown so I handed in my resume when I arrived 4 years ago, I did a trial shift and the rest is history.
Describe Atlas in three words
That's a difficult one! I would definitely say character, quality and bargain!
What makes Atlas different from other places in Queenstown?
I think a big thing is that we don't focus solely on the tourist market. We love to welcome people from all over the world but we also want to support the locals in Queenstown. We want to provide a place where you can sit and chat with your friends over a casual pint and some tasty food.
What's your favourite thing on the menu?
Hands down the fries or the locals breakfast. Or maybe the $20 steak which is a massive crowd pleaser...there's honestly too much to choose from.
There's a big movement of veggies and vegans in Queenstown?
The food scene in Queenstown is always evolving. We have noticed a big veggie boom in the past six months or so and we love being able to cater to everyone's tastes!
Is that what inspired you to add more veggie options to your new menu?
It actually started as a bet with our chef to see who could last the longest being vegetarian. I was surprised how difficult it can be to eat out as a veggie in Queenstown and how limited the vegetarian options often are. We wanted to make sure everyone has options when they come to Atlas so we started off with a few veggie specials each week and the response was great so we decided to put them on the menu...also our new chickpea burger is delicious so we had to make it a permanent fixture!
What direction do you want to take Atlas in the future?
Queenstown has a massive turnover of people coming and going, our aim is to continue to provide that friendly, community vibe for locals new and old! We'll add in bits and pieces as we go, but our footprint and ethos will stay the same!
For more information visit: Atlas Beer Cafe