If you’re a craft beer fan in Wellington there’s a high chance you’ve been handed a pint by Dan Hargreaves.

Hailing from Leeds, West Yorkshire, Hargreaves has been an integral part of the capital’s craft beer explosion since his arrival in 2010. He is well-known and well-loved throughout the beer industry, after spending over a decade as bar manager at Little Beer Quarter, during which time he helped to create a welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere and a strong sense of community. “It was always community-focused for me,” he says. “You don’t need to do events every single day — just be the event. Be the place people turn to.”

Having said that, Hargreaves revelled in the organisation of special events at LBQ, which included launch parties for Heyday Beer Co., Mean Doses and Juicehead, birthday parties for Yeastie Boys, and countless other beer-related celebrations. Along with LBQ owner/operator Stacey Walsh and the team at Craft Beer Capital, he was also involved with the launch of Road to Beervana, and operated two bars at Beervana itself, including 2019’s ‘Little Brett Quarter’, which exclusively offered wild and funky beers made with Brettanomyces yeast. 

Hargreaves moved on from LBQ earlier this year with the aim of focusing more energy on his new venture, Monkfish Fillery, which he started in 2020 with his partner Liz Hamrick, Walsh, Jamie King and Matt Maynard, who manages the shop from day-to-day. Monkfish is a boutique beer, wine and spirits shop located at 124 Vivian Street, in the site that formerly housed Funk Estate’s Fillery. Monkfish offers nine taps of unique and interesting beer from small independent breweries, a fun selection of cans and bottles in the fridge, and some fantastic wines from all corners of the world. While it currently only has an off-licence, this cosy space, with its beautiful mahogany bar, definitely has an atmosphere that blurs the lines between pub and shop. 

The name Monkfish came around after some initial underwater-themed doodles by co-founder King. The team considered several names, but they liked the fact that monkfish is also known as “stargazer” and is considered an ugly but delicious fish. Monkfish is an unsung culinary hero of the sea, and this clearly appeals to Hargeaves’ desire to champion the underdog, and to promote lesser-known producers who are highly dedicated to their craft. Whilst he does think professional beer sellers deserve a little more respect, he’s someone who values quiet integrity over prestige and glamour, and this ethos is part of what makes him such a welcoming host and a trusted curator of all things delicious.

Pop in and see him for a flagon of beer sometime and be sure to allow time for a decent yarn.