35 High Street,
(09) 358 3535
The ViewAuckland Review
5 out of 5
I'll go out on a limb here, and offer up Sunday night jazz at Rakinos as the coolest night in town right now.
It's not like it's brand new, but maybe that's why it's so good: they've had long enough to get it wired and get a good rep.
But you'll need some info to judge for yourselves, so ...
If you don't know it already, Rakinos is a first floor cafe-bar on High Street. Hard-wired into its system is a huge balcony, safe for a load of people heavy-foot-tapping to big beats.
It overlooks Freyberg Place, and in turn is overlooked by the Metropolis Hotel. It's an awesome spot. Auckland doesn't look any more metropolitan, anywhere, than it does from this angle.
Inside, Rakinos is a dress-down affair, both on the people and décor fronts. The floors are polished concrete, dark-stained plywood is screwed onto the walls to head height, and giant pot plants reach for the high ceiling.
There are wonky 70s-style tables dotted around one side, where people can tuck into the place's healthy eats—we have an antipasto platter that's good for two at just $16.
Elsewhere, deep leather sofas dot the place for some studied lounging. The bar staff whip up a good range of drinks, plus smoothies to order. A cocktails list is chalked onto one of the concrete columns.
Service can be patchy if regulars come in and are catching up with the staff, but that's kind of a reflection of Rakinos friendly nature. They're also pretty trusting here, and won't demand a credit card if you want to start a tab.
It's an arty kind of place, Rakinos, as you're probably gathering. There's funky canvases on the walls, and a piano at one end.
Which brings us to the music, and Sunday night in particular. When we come in, funky drum 'n' bass is playing, and I get talking to the evening's live act front-girl, Bex Peterson, at the bar.
Mojo Flyset is her group, and Rakinos is her favourite place to play. "It's the only venue where we really get to do what we want," she says.
Mojo kicks off with an instrumental number, mixing in with the background music. Then Bex takes the floor. With force.
She's blonde, but in touch with her black side, and she free-forms through several breakbeaty tracks while the drummer and guitarist nod anonymously behind beards and baseball caps.
She's got the funk, as they say. And so does Rakinos. Go see and hear.