The Awl: “Spring Fever”

Spring Fever

Is “craft water” any dumber than all the other artisanal nonsense people spend money on?


On a recent Sunday afternoon, on the waterfront in Wellington, New Zealand, an unusually large crowd gathered before a repurposed shipping container with a neat, black-and-white sign that read, “The Water Bar.” The bar was part of an exhibit of art installations inside cargo-shipping containers at the downtown harbor, called The Performance Arcade. Several attractive and busy-looking young people were handing little samples across a bar in shot glasses, tiny cups, and miniature porcelain spoons. The smiling crowd grew steadily in size and apparent interest. They were slurping saltwater slushies out of the spoons, sipping spring waters from the shot glasses, swirling and sniffing small tumblers, including one containing distilled water over a smoke-flavored ice cube. “The only thing missing to make it a legitimate water bar,” Kane Laing, the bar’s creator said, “is people paying for it.”

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