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food & Drink

What’s On: Auckland January

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The cold weather is well behind us, the sun is out, the holidays are booked and if you are heading to stay with us across January you are in for a bevy of shows, theatre and summer concerts!

Here’s what’s on this month:

Pop Up Globe: The Taming of the Shrew & Richard III

The Pop-Up globe 2019 season continues with two Shakespeare classics including The Taming of The Shrew which promises to transport you four hundred years into the past to tell the tale of an intelligent, outspoken, wealthy woman and a rude, misogynistic drunkard determined to secure his fortune, who are misled into a hasty marriage. Richard III is the classic Shakespeare villain tale of Richard Duke of Gloucester, who plays upon his own reputation and shamelessly manipulates, extorts and executes his way to the top.

Performed in stunning Jacobean period dress, the Somerset’s Company are Pop-up Globe’s mixed company of actors and musicians, drawn from around the world, these shows are an annual treat and tend to sell out fast, so get in quick to secure your spot!

New Year’s Day Races

See in the new year with some fancy dress and a day in the sun at the races! This annual tradition continues in 2019 with a winning trifecta of high-class thoroughbred racing, free family entertainment & tradition. The young ones will enjoy the petting zoo, pony rides, and other activities on offer, while older patrons can relax with a picnic blanket, food, and drinks.

Fomo By Night

The huge Australian summer festival finally lands on our shores this month, toting a stellar line up that includes Nicki Minaj, Lil Pump, Mura Masa, Kali Uchis, San Holo, Montell2099 and The Katayanagi Twins. This all-ages show at Spark Arena promises to mix international and local acts for an unforgettable night to start the summer off right.

Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals

After winning over crowds at last year’s Laneway Festival, Anderson .Paak returns to New Zealand hot off the heels of his hugely anticipated third album .Paak will be joined by Grammy-nominated composer, instrumentalist, producer, vocalist, poet and frontwoman of neo-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote. .Paaks 2018 sold out, so you’ll want to get in quick if you want to catch the man in action!

Florence + The Machine

Heralded as one of the best live performers, Florence + The Machine will return to New Zealand next January for one powerhouse performance at Spark Arena. The tour is supporting the singers latest offering, High As Hope, which has been met with rave reviews, she will be performing the album along with fan favorites at what will surely be a sell-out show.

Exploring Auckland’s newest dining experience: Morningside Precinct.

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Being located in the suburbs sometimes can make it difficult to have a new and upscale dining experience, and if you aren’t up for a trip to the city, your options become limited.

That is – until now. Located just twelve minutes from the motel, a new dining precinct has opened in Morningside and is set to be one of the hottest food and drinks destinations in Auckland. Close to Eden Park, it’s simply called ‘Morningside’ and houses businesses, food hotspots, a tavern, a dessert bar, and even a stunning new event space. With both indoor and outdoor spaces in a lush environment, there’s something for everyone.

And it’s become an instant hit with locals, earning rave reviews online and on social media. If you want to know a little more, here’s what’s in store for you at this new Auckland hotspot.

Bo’s Dumplings

If you are looking for a quick snack while visiting, or just have dumplings on your mind, look no further. A collaboration between chef Bo Feng and Architect DJ Tai, feast on perfectly steamed or lightly fried classics including the chive egg prawn and juicy pork dumplings. Inspired by the flavorings of Bo’s hometown, Tianjing, give a cold dish a try for a taste of true homestyle Chinese fare.

Crave

Another perfect spot for a quick bite – and an Auckland favorite is Crave. A social enterprise, a portion of the profits are invested back into the community. With a menu that transforms from day to night, as well as an impressive drinks list, Crave is a definite on your list.

Electric Chicken

The first of many main dining experiences, the Electric Chicken will draw you in with its fit-out popping in colour. Choose between a quarter bird, half bird or whole bird then pick which one of five ways you want it cooked, add a side and you’ll be in foodie heaven. They’re also serving up chicken sandwiches, which include a vegetarian option, soda, and liquor.

Morningside Tavern

No dining precinct would be complete without some good old fashioned pub food and drinks and that’s where the Morningside Tavern steps in. Overlooking the space are cosy lounge settings perfect for catching up for a cold one or two. With a starters menu that includes small plates and an impressive mains menu, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a Kiwi classic like beer battered fish ‘n’ chips, a woodfired pizza or even a superfood salad for those on a health kick, wash it down with one of 27 beers on tap, bottled beer, a wine, cocktail or even a mocktail.

Miann

Finally, if you have room for dessert than you can indulge your sweet tooth at Miann. With a blooming mini garden at its front, you’ll find a cafe and patisserie serving fresh brews and creative bites. You can’t go wrong with their house-made gelato offering, but if you’re more of a savory person, the almond croissants are a must. You’ll also find a chocolate shop with blocks and bites that are made by the masters right before your very eyes.

Exploring St. Kevins Arcade

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The crown jewel of K Road is St. Kevin’s Arcade which is packed with some of Auckland’s most popular bars, shops, and restaurants. The Arcade started out as a large estate, occupied by the Nathan family until 1918 and then demolished in 1920. Before the Nathan family vacated their city abode, they gifted a strip of land to serve as a passage from K’ Road to Myers Park, and this strip of land is where the famous St Kevin’s Arcade sits today.

The Arcade has grown since, after being extended in 1926, and with a thriving economy, K’road became one of Auckland’s premier shopping destination, often compared to Oxford Street in London. During this time of flourishment, St Kevin’s Arcade was home to the best of Auckland’s Tailors and Dressmakers, tea rooms and photography studios.

But with the introduction of the inner-city motorway and suburban malls in the 1960’s K’ Road and the surrounding area lost its appeal. But today, with more people living central, and the inner city reclaiming its vibrancy, St. Kevin’s arcade has become a staple for entertainment, food and shopping, especially for young people.

Shops in the arcade include the vintage denim bar, Stalgic Society, where you can choose from a large selection of on-trend vintage brands such as Calvin Klein, Gas, Wrangler, Tommy Hilfiger, GUESS and more. Then become your own designer and choose how store-owner Sarah will spice up your new love-worn threads with patches, crops, cuts, frays and other distressing techniques. If you are lucky you’ll catch Stalgic during one of their host guest artist’s sessions, to further personalise your jeans.

You can also book a nice Swedish relaxation and deep-tissue massage at Nicetouch, pick up a book from the hand-picked collection of quality second-hand books at The Green Dolphin, or pick-up a bouquet of flowers to brighten up your day from rose-tinted flowers.

If all that shopping works up an appetite, you’ll be spoilt for choice for food at St. Kevins, with highlights being Lord of the Fries, an ethical, fast food friend that specialises in Burgers, hot dogs, fries, sides, shakes and more. Dive into some Lebanese food at Gemmayze St with some local décor that matches the food, if you are on the go, pick up some tasty treats from Auckland’s favourite family-owned bakery Tart. If you want to dive into some eggy goodness, try the selection on offer at Egg and Spoon, an eatery solely dedicated to the humble egg – the brekkie burger is a local favourite.

The nightlife is also alive in this tiny nook, Both Whammy Bar and The Wine Cellar offer a range of local craft beers and wine, and usually, have local and international acts gracing their stage with a wide range of music.

So if you are heading into the city, be sure to find some time to check out this local favourite and find out why some of the best-kept secrets are worth finding.

Browsing Britomart

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In many of our blogs and guides to the city, we have briefly touched on Britomart, a small boutique collection of shops and cafes at the bottom of Queen street near the waterfront. Over the past few years, this space has blossomed into a popular heaven for shoppers and those with an exotic taste for food. In this blog we take a closer look at what makes this place such a must-visit destination:

Boutique Shopping

Wardrobe in need of a refresh, and have you got some money to burn? Then you are going to find the little craven of Britomart to be a shoppers’ paradise, with all your favourite brands in one shoppable space! This includes a mix New Zealand’s hottest fashion designers including Deadly Ponies, Juliette Hogan, Karen Walker, and Trelise Cooper as well as the hottest high-end international brands such as Prada, Gucci, Jo Malone London, Lululemon, Ted Baker, Tiffany & Co, just to name a few.

Catchup, Stroll and Brunch!

One of the greatest benefits of Britomart is the urban modern space which allows for a perfect walk’n’talk catch-up with friends with a follow up of brunch. Wander through Takutai Square and to nearby Queens Wharf. There’s always something happening at both these spots: the square is home to a Saturday morning market and the wharf regularly hosts art exhibitions and food trucks. If you’re really up for a stroll, head west to North Wharf and along the Westhaven Promenade. To take in the instagrammable views of the Waitemata Harbour.

The Nightlife

Britomart is perfect for those looking for a decent meal and a good night out. The quarter has a bit of everything to please all palate, including classic American-style burgers at better burger, take in some Vietnamese at Café Hanoi, a mix of traditional Japanese at Ebisu, or the French goodies at L’assiette. When it comes to having a night on the town, we would recommend starting at Brew on Quay for their dizzying selection of craft beers on tap, a stop at the one and only 1885 is a suburb and classy stable of the city, and Caretaker brings out the golden age New York feel in its intimate setting with a menu filled with delicious beverages.

La Cigale Market

But don’t feel like this place is only buzzing during the night, during Saturdays from 8am to 1pm you’ll come across a market that injects a sense of Parisian flair into the traditional kiwi market model. The result? A beautiful collision of locally grown, fresh fruit and vegetable stalls sit alongside international fare such as cured meats, specialty chocolates and nut butters. There are more than twenty stalls to peruse – constantly changing in theme, taste and flair!

Your Guide To Auckland’s Best Bars Part Two

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Sometimes when you’re on holiday you need to treat yourself. You have escaped to treat yourself and sometimes that means sitting down with some good company and enjoying a good drink. Auckland is perfect for this, our bustling metropolis is packed with secret bars, bars with amazing themes, and simple holes in the wall with great history.   

In part one we took you through some of our favorite intimate bars – the ones that host local live music and where you can relax. In part two we showcase some of the more bigger and more publicly known bars if you are feeling like a night out on the town, a dance with your better half or a group of friends, here are some local hotspots: 

Cassette 9 

Renowned for their teapot cocktails, quirky decor and top-of-the-range tunes and local gigs this is the place to be if you are wanting a classy night out, and when we say night out, Cassette is open until four in the morning! Cassette feels like a real city bar, located up a flight of stars, the bar is in a unique U-shape that features a small balcony, bench seating and dancefloor. The hip staff and large selection of drinks make this one of Auckland most frequented bars.

Grand Central 

This one of for the younger crowd, it’s the crown jewel of Ponsonby, known for its laid-back, hospo-friendly attitude and unpretentious ways, guests are sure to leave all inhibitions at the door as they really let loose to the live music or DJ’s on stage. Open until the wee hours of the morn it’s perfect if you are looking for a good boogie. And With late night curry and burger located just across the road and also open late, you have everything you need for a good night out! 

Impala 

Probably the newest bar on this list, don’t think for a minute this makes Impala any less of a popular hotspot. It has fast become a CBD hotspot mainly for featuring famous and up-and-coming local DJs that bring creative sets that you just can’t find anywhere else in the city. Expect to knock back a Fireball or two, dance until that 3am kebab calls and thank God that this Auckland underground, the class-act club came to town! 

Longroom 

Another Ponsonby institution (Ponsonby really has some of Auckland’s best bars), featuring a DJ dropping beats on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights there’s no excuse to skip a night out here, and it’s cater-made for an older crowd – its Restricted 22 after a certain time! This bar features a quirky interior that features a “fire” long stretching deck, couches and ponsonbys most popular dance floor. You might want to add this to the first stop on your list on a crawl as it can be extremely hard to get into during the weekend at peak times.

Your Guide To Auckland’s Best Bars Part One

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Sometimes when you’re on holiday you need to treat yourself. You have escaped to treat yourself and sometimes that means sitting down with some good company and enjoying a good drink. Auckland is perfect for this, our bustling metropolis is packed with secret bars, bars with amazing themes, and simple holes in the wall with great history.  We have filtered through the collection of bars in the city to bring you a diverse collection that features something for everyone.   

Racket Bar  

Racket is the loud and eclectic staple of Britomart that features a cheeky and humorous attitude with a damn good selection of drinks to match this cheeky attitude. With 85 premium rum varieties on the shelf and the self-titled “Auckland’s Most Expensive Fire Hazard” out front, Racket is the perfect place to spend winter nights away from the fierce weather. The modest lighting also makes it acceptable to cozy up in a booth and get submerged in conversation.  

Bonita   

Bonita is the kind of place that you walk in to and feel at home – slightly hidden behind a side street in Ponsonby, it has become a favorite destination for locals, and as a result, it has grown a friendly neighborhood local feel about it. The staff is equally as friendly as the locals the adorn the sidebar, the selection of wines and locally sourced beer are also well worth the visit. With outdoor seating both front and back, it’s the ideal place to catch some afternoon rays and people watch, or to hide away.  

The Wine Cellar  

You’ll have to take a journey down the stairs of St Kevin’s Arcade to find this hidden free-spirited Wine Cellar. The wine cellar is a staple of Auckland and K Road for its exciting and diverse range of local gigs that are often put-on, as well as their alternative them and simple style – that includes old school pinball games. This bar is perfect for those in a large group looking for a night out, or those more attuned to a cozy night.   

The Portland Public House  

This comfortable DIY wonderland where the drinks taste good and you’ll likely rub shoulders with a who’s who of local musicians. This bar is a truly alive, it starts off as a restaurant during the day, then transforms into a venue and dancefloor in the evening, but if you want to sit rather than drink, their back room and outdoor area is perfect for catching up with friends or having a date night. Their beer selection is equally fantastic mixing classics with local craft breweries, as well as having a nice selection of wine to choose from.