Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city. I love the vibe of this place, not too big not too small. Amazing beaches on the north shore just over the bridge, water pursuits, awesome cafes and a melting pot of cultures. I’ve visited a few times before and although the public transport system leaves a lot to be desired, there’s still plenty to love about this little city.
Traveling around the world as much as I can enables me to indulge in my other passion….music! With such a diverse range of cultures in Auckland it is easy to find something to suit any taste. I only had one night this visit so decided to try a few on K Road, a popular stretch as well known for it’s working girls as it is for it’s bars.
Neck of the Woods
This K Road basement bar churns out live music melodies left right and centre. With a new line-up of artists every week, Neck of the Woods have hosted the likes of Black Sun Empire, State of Mind and Electric Wire Hustle as well as a multitude of local and international artists. Head there on any night of the week and expect to dance your way into the wee hours of the a.m. Its eclectic, buzzing vibe will get you hooked!
Stepping into Whammy Bar is like stepping into a dark, mystical music cave. Things tend to get a bit hot, sweaty and steamy as revelers groove, head bang or spaz out to the tunes. Punk rock, heavy metal and indie bands tend to dominate here, so if that’s your jam, you know where to go.
Intimate gigs don’t get much better than at the Wine Cellar. This K Road gem has—no surprise—plenty of wine on offer, cosy vibes and dark lighting, making it a rad location to catch some live shows.
On a previous visit I had a bit more time so got around a few other venues/bars. My picks are:
Orleans will transport you straight to well, Orleans. Spend your weeknights listening to some smooth jazz and mellow blue tunes or rock up on the weekend for groovier, toe-tappin’ beats. Not a mover or a shaker? Their tempting cocktail list will give you a nudge in the right direction.
Your Sunday evenings should be spent at KFC—and we’re not talking about the greasy fried chicken joint. Although Flight 605 make finger-lickin’ good chicken wings, it’s Kingsland Folk Club that needs your attention. Held every second Sunday, Flight 605 host this awesome event, which gives up-and-coming musical talent a chance to showcase their sounds amongst supportive, beer-lovin’ punters. From indie and folk to R&B and other quirky genres, this friendly, neighbourhood bar is a must for your low-key live music fix.
Ponsonby Social Club
If a booty shake and espresso martini drink marathon sounds like your kinda Saturday, then Ponsonby Social Club is for you. Whether it’s a live DJ or a band, PSC provides the perfect platform to let your hair down and dance to the music.
Go for the teapot cocktails, stay for the awesome live music. Cassette Nine’s live music sched is always on-point, with a quality selection of artists gracing the stage every week. From old school throwbacks to fresh tracks, there’s something for every type of muso.
The Kings Arms Tavern
The Kings Arms Tavern has been going strong since 1880 and is showing no signs of slowing down. The heritage pub doubles as a wicked live music venue where local and overseas peeps blast their beats to the masses. Soak up the sun and sink a few bevvies in their beer garden before heading inside for a night-long groove.
You can’t say you’ve visited Auckland until you’ve spent a night on the d-floor at the legendary Danny Doolans. This Auckland institution has live music SEVEN days a week and pumps every single night. It’s a quintessential Irish pub in the heart of the city so expect sing-alongs, hugging and classic tunes. Cheers to that!
The secret whereabouts of Golden Dawn might have been exposed long ago, but the great live music continues to impress. The cosy bar at the entrance has a small stage and people sardine in to get an earful of what the local and international artists have to offer (spoiler: it’s good). If you need a breather, Golden Dawn’s outdoor courtyard will do the trick.
As you can see there’s plenty to choose from……the problem will be deciding where to go in the time you have available! Something for all tastes to be had in this awesome little city.