Summer in Auckland

Selecta Sam, Uncle Barnie, Stormin Norman
Selecta Sam, Uncle Barnie, Stormin Norman

Ponsonby Market Day never disappoints. It’s fun traipsing up and down the strip catching a soul band in a church yard, or a troupe of amateur drummers on a street corner, with such pleasure showing on the faces of the musos and smiles on those standing by. You can find bargains outside all kinds of stores, including designers like Miss Crabb, or pick a book from the personal collection of a Sunday Painter’s waiter. My favourite part, though, is the food. Today’s highlights were both Japanese: I’m always keen on Yuzu’s totally authentic chicken yakitori, but today was the first time I’ve seen upmarket Brown St restaurant Cocoro fronting a stall. They had slow-cooked pork belly on a steamed bun with delicious sauces. It’s hard to go past the tables of home baking too.

Next it was the World Together mini-festival down at Silo Park. I arrived to find a colourful crowd jumping around to Nick D and Dick Johnson’s Weird Together show, with their selection of upbeat music augmented by an eclectic crop of live musicians. Beyond the dancers, people were soaking in the sun and atmosphere on two lawns separated by a somewhat parched water feature. The superior food trucks were in attendance, my favourite being the Hungarian donut-style bread topped with pesto or tomato. There were some interesting arts, crafts, and clothes stalls as well.

On the way to Victoria Park Market I chanced upon the Telecom Christmas Tower. It was still broad daylight but already families were having fun kicking back in the beanbags, drinking coffee and eating crepes, with some chilled music lending a little ambience. If you haven’t been to the tower before, do go at night. It’s quite mesmerising.

Finally I got to La Zeppa to catch The Dose DJs, Selecta Sam and Uncle Barnie, hanging out while their guest Stormin Norman laid down a tight set of NYC Block Party classics. The deck at La Zeppa has got to be one of the best in the city, with a nice little soundsystem, lots of seating, heaters to combat the unseasonal wind, and a bar with a selection of top shelf spirits. The barman even went inside to get cucumber for my Pimms!

That’s where my night ended but those who were heading out could have looked no further than Andy Riley of Inland Knights at Ink Bar. That aside, the Auckland club scene might be in need of some fresh ideas but today proved the city is slowly coming of age in terms of daylight culture, with options to suit everybody. And the bar scene is thriving.

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