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Auckland Venues with Live Music

Live music is a key ingredient for making a good night out into one to remember. I for one, particularly enjoy, not only listening to great music, but also seeing it created, by a real musician, before my eyes. A live band or musician, that interacts with and entertains their audiences, will beat an anonymous CD player hands down.

And for Auckland clubs and bars it’s tough out there; so offering live music entertainment is an excellent way to bring in the punters.

With this in mind, I’ve profiled some good live-band venues for you to check out.

Degree Gastro Bar, Quay Street

Music is obviously a staple at Degree on Quay Street, given that on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights its home to some of Auckland’s best DJs, cranking out beats that are sure to have the dance floor pumping.

But if that’s not your scene, “Acoustic Sunday” is the perfect end to your weekend. Sit back with a drink and unwind to easy listening songs we all know and love.


Ivory Lounge, Parnell, Auckland

If your musical tastes are more “gourmet than burger and chips,” then you’ll enjoy the Ivory Lounge.  They’re in Parnell on Parnell Road and provide free live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 8pm.

The Ivory Lounge is modelled on Las Vegas-style bars and home to two grand pianos. Regular musicians include Deryn Trainer (of Stars in their eyes fame), well-known singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lisa Crawley and veteran piano player Peter Hale.


Grand Central, Ponsonby, Auckland

Inspired by the iconic Grand Central Station in New York, Ponsonby’s Grand Central, on Ponsonby Road, is one of Auckland’s longest serving supporters of live music.

They have free live music every Monday to Thursday nights. On Monday night they have an open-mic (now into its fourth year), hosted by Eddie Gaiger, and on other nights you can experience great live jazz, blues and rock from either the Grand Central band or other local acts. At the weekends there are live DJs playing funky retro, disco and soul music.


Nuffield Street Trading Co

Nuffield Street Trading Co, in Newmarket, offers free live music every Thursday and Friday night. The bar and restaurant is intimate and they offer a range of Macs brews on tap, all at the perfect temperature with the perfect pour.

Thursday nights, from 7.30pm, feature Waylon McPherson singing and playing acoustic guitar with a real-time loop pedal to create some interesting sounds. His repertoire consists of some good old classics from bands like U2, Elvis and The Beatles, along with more modern numbers from the likes of Kings of Leon and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

If grooving to pumping soulful beats is your thing, then you can dance to DJs like Sweetmixkids, DJ Alice Rose and Tony Tunes on Friday nights from 6pm.


More restaurants and pubs with bands:

Have we missed one of your fav haunts, that play live music, off the list? Let us know by posting a comment below – we want to hear all about them!


Editorial by By Liam MacAndrew

11 September 2012

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