The Cavalier (formerly known as the Suffolk Hotel) in College Hill has been a feature of the Ponsonby landscape for nearly 150 years. It was built when Ponsonby was called Dedwood, and the whole area only sparsely populated. Exactly when it was built is unrecorded, but it is thought to have been sometime between 1864 and 1868.
Run predominantly by Campbell & Ehrenfield managers, except for a brief spell in the 1920's when it was leased. Campbell and Ehrenfield sold most of their pubs in 1972, and the Suffolk was bought by Lion Breweries
For the next 18 years it was both leased and managed until 1990 when it was again leased to the current operators. Like many of it's contemporaries, the Suffolk was built of wood. It still looks much the same except that the front is outwardly similar today to when it was built, but it has been plastered over.
Entertainment was darts or pool, there was a Suffolk Hotel Social Club, and the publican sponsored the local Rugby League team. The Suffolk was synonymous with the birth of the code coming from a meeting held on 6th April 1910 at the Suffolk Hotel resulting in the formation of Auckland Rugby League.
As of 2014, Freemans Bay drinking institution The Cavalier Tavern will re-open as The Cav. But while the name’s getting shorter, everything else is getting a little bit bigger and better.