470 New North Road,
(09) 849 5777
The ViewAuckland Review
4 out of 5 stars
It’s Sunday afternoon at The Kingslander, and a half-excited buzz is building. The excitement isn’t fully formed because in nearby Eden Park, the Auckland rugby team is about to take on Taranaki for the Ranfurly Shield. Come along before an All Blacks test and it’s a very different and much noisier black-clad story. The fact that the Olympics are on the telly, and that Auckland’s finally enjoying a fine weekend, might also have something with the slightly subdued pre-match atmosphere.
It’s pretty ironic really. We’re about to cross the railway lines to watch live sport at Eden Park, but The Kingslander is probably Auckland’s best sports bar. An array of flat screen TVs in concealed across two floors, and the generous positioning of chairs, comfy sofas, and a gas fire means it’s easy to create the ambience of being at a mate’s place. That’s if your mate had a pool table, supplied Monteith’s on tap, and featured live bands on a Friday night.
Housed in an airy, heritage space that used to be a 19th-century grain store, the team at The Kingslander work hard to provide a mix of entertainment. I’ve been absent from arguably Auckland’s most popular pub quiz for too long now. The friendly banter and debate kicks off at 7pm every Tuesday night, but you’ll need to get there by around 6.15pm to be sure of a spot. Expect lots of intense rivalry from very competitive teams of regulars. A few months back the in-pub use of Google had to be cracked down upon. The teams here take things very seriously.
Sunday afternoons see equally competitive poker from 3pm, and on Wednesdays, salsa night starts shimmying from 8pm. The Kingslander’s a bit like the surrounding suburb really, with lots of different events reflecting different aspects of Auckland.
We’ve only got time for one more pint and one of Auckland’s better chicken burgers before kicking on to a 2.30 kickoff. If I stay here for much longer I might even get dragged into poker. I may be pretty good at quiz night, but taking on the locals at poker sounds like a one-way journey to the poor house.
I may as well be a property developer.