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Bain Divine's Gay Auckland Venue Guide Pt 1

Sat 24 Dec 2005 In: Entertainment View at Wayback View at NDHA sent non-drinker Bain Divine around Auckland's gay bar/club venues to have a sober and unbiased view of just where venues are at, as we enter 2006. After a drought of venues a couple of years ago, the scene has got a bit of choice going again and the centre of activity has moved uptown for a casual drink, a wink at a twink or a bump and grind that's good for your mind. To get an idea of prices and music styles Bain took along a 23 year old drink slut from Real Groovy Records and bought him a Heineken in each venue, so you can compare. (All prices are from actual purchases, hours were provided by staff members but may vary). HYDRANT (the old brick firestation) Hydrant has the best outdoor deck of any bar in Auckland, and a character-filled interior to match the bell tower charm of the exterior. Beautiful sound, a padded dj booth and subtle lighting provide a groovy ambience, but where are the people? Hydrant was the bar for stylee metrohomosexual guys last summer and at midnight it used to be elbow room only on the triangular smoking deck under the stars. This year you could pitch a tent. The downstairs street level bar got turned into a homeware shop and many punters drove past at night, saw the lights off downstairs, and thought the whole place had closed. No. Hydrant is still happening, and as nice as ever for a civilised tipple, but no longer pumping. Go there to meet up before clubbing. Especially good on balmy nights. Address: Williamson Ave, Ponsonby (100m west of the Ponsonby Rd and Williamson Ave intersection, 5 mins drive from CBD) Hours: (can vary) Tuesday – Thursday 6pm –1am Friday and Saturday 6pm – 3 am Music: Various house, Electro, club classics Heineken: $6 Venue type: mid-sized bar with dancefloor Smoking: On the deck Toilets: Sparkling Cover charge: none Parking: Easy street parking all around URGE An established butch bar on the K-Rd ridge catering to a blokey leather and bear(ded) crowd with a wide range of ages. If you want porn on the telly and beer in your belly, this is for you. Don't be thinking it's empty when you walk through the leather curtains from the street, the smokers are often out the back in the carpark having a blow. Consistently the best music (usually a bit dark and grimey, although the occasional camp number can pinch you for fun) and a small dance area provide the catalyst for a bit of bump'n'grind if it gets busy. During other quieter times punters line the walls sitting on 4 x 2 bench seating looking like they are at a rugby match waiting for the score. Every so often you really can meet a sharemilker here as it's popular with out of towners, but there is usually a hardcore of regulars in the weekend. Cheery new owners are giving good service and opening up the venue to occasional special Thursday nights like Homiesexual as well as keeping ever-popular big events like underwear parties on the calendar. Address: 490 Karangahape Rd, Uptown Hours: Thursday 9pm –2am Friday 9pm – 3 am Saturday 9pm – 5 am Music: depends on the dj but often Chunky, Dark and Sleazy, or as dj Mauri describes his own style: ‘Groovy Homo house' (Always Britney-free) Heineken: $6.50 Venue type: small-sized bar with dance area Smoking: out the back in the carpark Toilets: okay Cover charge: none (except some special nights) Parking: street parking where you can find it and some out back. Bain Divine - 24th December 2005    

Credit: Bain Divine

First published: Saturday, 24th December 2005 - 12:00pm

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