178 Hurstmere Road,
(09) 489 9925
The ViewAuckland Review
4 out of 5 stars
Across the Bridge in Takapuna it’s another busy Friday night, and the North Shore’s different nightlife tribes are staking out their positions. The youngest crew of the night seems to be lost amongst the fake beach cabanas at R’toto, and the corner location of the Takapuna Bar is definitely the busiest with punters overflowing onto the pavement. Further along Hurstmere Rd towards Milford, the newly opened Grange is doing good business with an older 35 years plus demographic. My drinking companion is a Shore lad, and reckons the mini-parade of leggy blondes of a difficult-to-define age can only mean one thing. Welcome to Cougar country.
That’s actually very harsh on The Grange, because it’s a great little bar if your tastes skew towards cool R&B sounds, a chilled but sophisticated ambience, and the courage to employ a personable Mohawked barman totally at odds with the bar’s style and décor. This guy should definitely be cloned and employed at a few other under-performing bars around town.
The Grange in Takapuna is the across-the-Harbour Bridge offshoot of the Grange in Ponsonby Rd (The Bar Formerly Known as The Living Room). There are quite a few outward similarities to The Grange in Ponsonby. Schist rocks, leather seating, and lots of warm timber give both places an ambience not unlike bars in Queenstown; there’s a well-considered wine list, and food is as important as the drinks. We’re kicking on somewhere else, so after a couple of draught Monteith’s vow to return one night for the food menu which come complete with a focus on organic flavours and small tapas-style plates. There’s no live music tonight, but on Sunday afternoons from 3pm there’s live jazz. Across in Ponsonby, Sunday afternoons offer live acoustic covers you’re more likely to know the words to.
The slight differences in musical offerings also sum up the minor differences between the bars. Recent visits to Ponsonby have been slightly more raucous and with a younger crowd. Takapuna seems older, more affluent and sophisticated, and probably a good fit for Takapuna’s entertainment strip. Before or after dinner or a show at the nearby Bruce Mason Centre, it deserves to do well.
Just watch out for the local wildlife.
The Grange Takapuna has been reviewed by 9 users