When it comes to NZ bars most people think of Wellington but Auckland has some great drinking holes. Thanks to some alcoholic friends of mine in NZ who were willing to share their knowledge and punish their livers with me, I spent a happy couple of weeks crawling the city’s bars and then wrote a feature about it for the SMH’s Travel section – and I thought I might as well point to it here as well.
Out of all the bars I listed in it, my favourite is Mo’s. It has a great retro vibe and a friendly bartender who made me a good cognac-based sazerac even though it wasn’t on the menu (and even though most NZ bars don’t stock decent absinthe – most of the sazeracs I had there were made with Pernod).
Even though it’s more of a French restaurant than a bar, I did like Pastis for three reasons: 1) I fell in love with the French accordionist who plays there; 2) I love brass counter tops and 3) it was the first time I ever drank a Mauresque, which is a pastis that has orgeat syrup added to it (although I think, from memory, that Pastis used hazelnut syrup instead). Either way, I loved it.
Another favourite is the Wine Cellar on K Road. It has a casual underground feel and hosts some interesting indie live music – I ended up going several times and wish Sydney had a bar like it. I also wish one of the bands I saw perform there – Heart Attack Alley (a punk/blues three-piece) – will come to Sydney sometime.
The last bar I’ll mention here is Rakinos, which looks like an old office that’s been converted into a bar. If you’re in the CBD and want a casual bar with good DJs, a balcony and cheap but tasty bistro food then this is worth a look.
Of course, if there are any Auckland bars you think I missed in my feature then feel free to leave a comment here: