Elbow Room Herne Bay

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3 reviews
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198 Jervois Road,
Herne Bay

(09) 376 2613

The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byBrett Atkinson26/08/2007

4 out of 5 stars

What a difference a few months make. In its previous incarnation, the Elbow Room was sometimes a loud and boisterous bar that probably would have been more at home at the Viaduct or along Ponsonby Rd. Instead it was on a corner in Herne Bay surrounded by classy restaurants like Vinnie's and Andiamo, and cool bookshops and galleries. Now the Elbow Room's had a major revamp and is shaping up as one of Auckland's best little neighbourhood bars.

The first thing we notice on a Saturday night is the decor. The new design of the Elbow Room is by the same team that fitted out the Gypsy Team Room a couple of central suburbs away in Grey Lynn. Lighting in the small corner space is discreetly dim, and there's a comfortably distressed ambience to the bar's interior, much like the Gypsy Tea Room. A range of Latin beats is bubbling away on the sound system, and the melancholy sound of Portuguese fado music suits perfectly the bar's old world European charm. And unlike the old Elbow Room, there's not a flat screen TV to be seen.

The drinks menu also resembles the discreet excellence of the Gypsy Tea Room. An almond daiquiri is just the right side of sweet, and my request for a caipirinha is smooth and hassle-free despite Brazil's finest drink not being listed. It's a tough decision actually because as well as Monteith's, Sol and Amstel, the beer list includes a couple of personal favourites in Emerson's Organic Pilsner and the mighty Little Creatures Pale Ale from across the ditch.

The old Elbow Room was at its best (or worst?) when it was standing room only. Thankfully Brett Simeti from the Gypsy Tea Room has recreated that bar's combination of comfortable banquette seating and a few compact tables and chairs. Several stools at the bar promise to be the best spot to gain wisdom from the coolly professional bar staff.

We'd love to stay and combine the concise and thoughtful wine list (look forward for boutique goodies like Three Miners Gewurztraminer) with the bar snacks including stuffed rice balls and Mediterranean spiced lamb, but we've got a prior dinner booking.

We'll definitely be back, and if the new owners can come up with a better name the reborn Elbow Room is almost worth five stars.

Elbow Room Herne Bay has been reviewed by 3 users

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