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196 Parnell Road,

(09) 377 1510

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Review byBrett Atkinson13/04/2007

4 out of 5

In a city besieged by Irish bars, how do you stand out from the crowd? In the case of The Bog, you customise the decor with the trappings of an old church and build up a solid reputation as a venue for live music. Sure, there's the usual Gaelic grab-bag of old fishing rods and sepia toned pix of smoky Irish villages, but the addition of stained glass windows, a cloistered ceiling, and a fake church organ creates a unique space for good times with an Irish accent. Maybe the owner's atoning as a lapsed Catholic, but on a Good Friday when most of Parnell is religiously quiet, he's attracted more than a few fellow worshippers to this shrine of Guinness and Kilkenny.

Outside there's a handy garden bar for balmy summer nights, (OK, there's a few tables and potted plants), and inside is all hidden nooks and crannies. Summer's rapidly fading so we take a pew, (literally), in front of one of Auckland's biggest screens to watch the Blues continue their inevitable march to Super 14 glory in 2007. The Bog's the kind of place where the bar staff are as interested in the rugby as the punters, and they chat about it with a few older grizzled types proudly wearing Guinness 100 Pint Club jackets.

This being Parnell, a few tourists are trying out a pint or two of Speights or Lion Red, and doing their best to understand the action on the big screen. Towards the end of the game, a band wanders in just in time to kick off around 9.15pm. Live music from Wednesday to Saturday is a big drawcard at The Bog from with an emphasis on Irish tunes, (expect loads of U2 and The Pogues), and drink-a-long songs that everyone knows the words to, even the regular crews of German and Swedish backpackers visiting from nearby hostels. Every Sunday night an Irish music jam session kicks off at 7pm. BYO tin whistle.

There's nothing worse than an Irish bar with no drinkers, and while a few of Auckland's more forlorn Irish pubs sometimes fall into that category, The Bog's central location, regular music calendar, and sociable combo of loyal regulars and curious tourists ensure it's one of the city's livelier spots for a shot of Jameson's or a pint of Guinness.

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