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The Free House is untied to any brewery and although it does have its own on site nano brewery, it is still a portal for the multitude of craft beers being created all over New Zealand. 

The Free House began in the barren beer years of the early 2000's. Mic and Eelco started holding quarterly beer tasting events called the Nelson Beer Fêtes. They did this in the selfish hope that some visionary soul would open a pub to irrigate the parched. Three years passed and the Fêtes grew in popularity, but the prophet failed to show. When the old Reformed church went up for sale. Mic and Eelco saw it as sign and in the quiet autumn days of April 2009, The Free House was created. 

Thirst slaked. 

That was the beginning. Over the years that The Free House has been alive, many chapters have been lived.

In late 2010 the site was expanded to take in the car sales yard next door, providing a huge space for a beer garden.


Outdoor gigs were tried but sadly 4 out of 5 were shut down by noise control. We bought a 12 metre diameter ger (yurt) from Mongolia to use as a venue with varied success. Like the fruit of the feijoa hedge that surrounded it, people loved it or loathed it. Too sheepy for some.

In 2017 the pergola went up and the following year we installed the hot pipes under the tables to keep things cosy in the cooler evenings.

In 2020  we became the first pub in NZ to gain Climate Positive status, measuring our carbon footprint, for 2019, through Ekos, and offsetting it by 120%. 

 The first Covid 19 lockdown gave time to think and plan for the future. The result is the Flavourtorium nano brewery which came online in late 2021. 

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