95 - 97 Customs Street West,
(09) 377 7778
The ViewAuckland Review
Has Bono done more to resurrect the cowboy hat than anyone else?
At the Viaduct pre-U2 concert fever is in full swing, and Western headwear is being worn by around the same number of people who took part in Custer's last stand.
But despite the Dublin accent of tonight's entertainers, cowboy hats really don't fit into either of the Viaduct's two heaving Irish bars. At the intimate Cowboy Pizza Kitchen it's a different story.
The entrance to Cowboy Pizza Kitchen is framed by two kitsch-as-hell giant plastic cacti, but the über friendly bar staff may just be Auckland's least prickly.
The bar's name is a bit of a misnomer too. Sure, there's damn fine gourmet pizzas and flash burgers on offer, but the menu's real role is to accompany fun times in a liquid form.
We decide on a zingy, citrusy pint of Monteiths' Radler, and a glass of Mt Difficulty chardonnay. The wine is served in a stemless tumbler, a smart practice considering how busy this tiny place gets.
The wine list's nothing to be ashamed of, but the real attraction is the bar's selection of tequila and bourbon. Twenty-four varieties of each are listed, almost one for every state of the planet's only remaining super power.
Head south of the US border with a 'Submariner', a Mexican version of a depth charge with a shot of lime tequila immersed in a glass of Sol.
CPK's decor is stone-cold cool Americana with a classic Ralph Lauren designer tinge.
Leather 'n' wood combines with aged walls and flagstone tiles. An antique clock announces it's always 12.30am (in Dodge City).
More than anything Cowboy Pizza Kitchen feels like a nicely raucous party at your mate's place. Sure your mate's gone a bit OTT with the faux Western styling, but he does have a video jukebox that churns out coolly retro hits from the 1960s onwards.
He'll even let you behind the bar to act as veejay. Tonight Tom Jones is mixed with the Stones, Tom Petty and Talking Heads.
Middle-aged marketing managers are singing along wondering how come Mick Jagger still looks so damn cool these days, and a couple of Euro backpackers sashay in knowing they've found the Viaduct's best bar.
Departing concert-goers leave the Viaduct's other bars cavernous and empty, but the totally unpretentious Cowboy Pizza Kitchen is just getting warmed up and will be pumping all night.
Cowboy Pizza Kitchen has been reviewed by 11 users