234 Dominion Road,
(09) 623 2121
The ViewAuckland Review
4 out of 5 stars
The building on the corner of Dominion Rd and Valley Rd has been through a few incarnations across recent decades. Way back when it was a steak and seafood restaurant called Cantell’s, and then it became Auckland’s first (and probably only…) Native American-themed restaurant called Navajo. After a stint as GPK, it re-opened a couple of years back as The Dominion, a Heineken-themed bar with an attached restaurant. Now, probably with a close eye on the upcoming Rugby World Cup in 2011, The Dominion has had a significant revamp, and it really is a bar of two halves.
Our first visit was a couple of weeks back to watch the miracle that is Stacey Jones help the Warriors to beat Manly. That was in the revamped bar that’s bang on the corner of Valley Rd and Dominion Rd. Gone is the emphasis as a dining room, and now there’s almost a total emphasis as a high-end sports bar. Multiple plasma screens make it easy to see the action, and there’s Tiger, Erdinger and Monteith’s on tap. The heritage ambience of the original building has been nicely gussied up with trendy retro wallpaper and slick service. With a few Vietnamese spring rolls from the bar snacks menu, and the afternoon sun streaming in, it’s going to be a top spot to watch the Warriors, Blues and All Blacks across winter.
Further up Valley Rd, The Dominion’s second bar has undergone an even greater transformation. This space was originally a sports bar as well, but all the TVs have been shifted out to create a quirky and eclectic space that seems much more inner city than inner suburbs. Red chandeliers, mismatched leather sofas, and artfully misplaced beer crates all produce an ambience unlike anywhere else in Auckland ; it actually feels like one of the uber-cosy bars like Cartel in inner Christchurch. The friendly barman is effortlessly laidback and capable of conjuring up excellent caipraihnas, despite Brazil’s favourite cocktail not being on the drinks list. In the beer fridge there’s quart bottles of Tui and DB in a sly nod to old school Kiwiana, and there’s good value tapas plates – either eight bucks each or 5 for $31. With a handy Dominion Rd location, this place is a funky alternative to another night in the inner city.
The old Dominion was pretty good, but in their versatile two-bar revamp, it’s now got something for everyone, and is even better.
Does this review have you salivating? You can now make a reservation here!
Dominion has been reviewed by 9 users