The Free House is untied to any brewery. It isn't a brewpub but rather a portal for the multitude of craft beers being created all over New Zealand. 

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. 


Large beer garden with many edible plantings. Feijoas, oranges, limes, mandarins, cranberries, persimmons, passionfruit, mountain guavas, almonds, figs and a few berries.

Light and shade
Light and shade

The afternoon sun streams through the leadlight windows of the old church.

Beer engines
Beer engines

The three hand-pulls for the cask conditioned beers. These are cellared in our purpose built "cellar" to be served at the correct temperature and condition. We only serve cask conditioned beers through the engines.


Bright taps for brite beer

Street view
Street view

From the outside looking in. Plenty of outdoor seating.


Ten taps pouring an ever changing line up of New Zealand's finest craft beers. IPAs, lagers, APAs, Saisons, Goses, stouts and porters, the list continues to grow.







All our beers are cask or keg dispensed and since opening 1000's of different beers have been served through the three beer engines and 13 bright taps. The beer menu is ever changing, offering the opportunity to try new beers, and beer styles, whilst also providing the familiarity of a few favourites. About 99.9% of the beers we serve are New Zealand brewed beers and we do tasting flights too.


Nelson is a wine growing region and as such the wine list is predominantly local. Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Albariño, Riesling, Blanc de Noir, all lovingly made by Nelson growers and winemakers that are very clever, and are nice people too.


In Upper Moutere, 35 kms from The Free House is New Zealand's largest traditional cider apple orchard, Peckham's. Real ciders made from 100% fresh juice, and made only in autumn with tree ripened fruit. They take their time, slow fermenting and ageing their ciders for at least six months. We always have a couple of them on tap.


Delicious tacos, quesadillas, nachos and specials for both carnivores and herbivores. We still have our favourite hand cut chunky chips too. The Free House also welcomes you to bring in your own food, or order from another local restaurant. (provided it isn't globally homogenous, branded fast food)

Opening Hours

Monday - Friday 3pm till 11ish

Saturday - Sunday 12 noon till 11ish

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