Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Auckland City Nights

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  • Su Yin Khoo,

    I was impressed with today's livable city feature Element Magazine pullout in the Herald, Lots of long-time-coming people-first Auckland plans and such.

    What Wyndyard Quarter is sorely missing is a skate park for the tweens and teens — and perhaps a non-alcoholic drinkie diner place for them to hang out as well. (The gelato place was closed — did they not stake out Giapo?)

    It was quite disheartening to see some good kids being chased away from venue to venue the other night because the council has taken away places for them to hang out and not put in any alternatives.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2011 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • barnaclebarnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Every person I know that has partaken in the hospitality offerings of North Wharf has had a terrible experience. Every one.

    Yep - That is standard for pretty much any waterfront restaurant around the world. Overpriced decidedly average or worse food. Lets hope they can get things right soon. And please Auckland Fish Market can you put some cone holders in your outdoor seating so you can keep the Fish 'n Chips cones upright.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 85 posts Report Reply

  • Christian Mair,

    The Checks in my opinion were just aweful. Highlights for me were The Transistors and Beastwars.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2011 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    unless more restaurateurs put as much time and effort into recruiting, training (and rewarding good) staff

    symptomatic of management's role in our nation's lack of productivity

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16478 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Every person I know that has partaken in the hospitality offerings of North Wharf has had a terrible experience. Every one.

    Yikes.

    Although snapper and chips from the (well-established) Fish Market behind it to eat out on the wharf with the family was a great time on early Friday evening. Little steep on the $ side but thoroughly recommended...

    ETA: Snap barnes...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Christian Mair,

    The problem is that almost every new bar is bigger and brighter than the last. Drink palaces void of any original thought. Margins being squeezed as much as possible at the expense of patrons. Auckland's restrictive licensing makes it nearly impossible for small Bars/Venues to exist.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2011 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Su Yin Khoo,

    I was impressed with today’s livable city feature Element Magazine pullout in the Herald, Lots of long-time-coming people-first Auckland plans and such.

    And a nice little dig at the unhelpful men from central government too. I must pop down and buy a copy of the paper today.

    What Wyndyard Quarter is sorely missing is a skate park for the tweens and teens — and perhaps a non-alcoholic drinkie diner place for them to hang out as well. (The gelato place was closed — did they not stake out Giapo?)

    It was quite disheartening to see some good kids being chased away from venue to venue the other night because the council has taken away places for them to hang out and not put in any alternatives.

    Quite right. It does seem they'll have a chance to put that right -- the liquor licenses for the bars only run through till March, I'm told, and I suspect some of them won't renew.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Funniest moment of the night: being hailed by a wide-eyed young man en route from the Rising Sun to Galatos ("Hey! Media7 guy!"), who then explained to his friend that I hosted "a kind of underground TV show". Yeah, that's me: an urban media guerilla.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    what was definitely lacking was somewhere to buy water or an ice-cream

    Some roasted chestnuts would have come in handy the other day. Generally any cheap snack from a small stall mobile enough to move out onto the end of the pier when the people do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 88 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Russell Brown,

    In some ways, you are.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Gareth Ward,

    Every person I know that has partaken in the hospitality offerings of North Wharf has had a terrible experience. Every one.

    +1.

    We had lunch there, and ordered an 18" (honest, they had a ruler) Pizza, for $29. The menu said 'Fennel Sausage'. It arrived with one puny sausage diced into even punier pieces, spread across the whole pizza. One bit per slice. There was a whole lot of Pizza real estate with nothing on it.

    Compare this with the $12 Peperoni at Tasca in Newmarket on their lunch menu; three times the topping for less than half the price.

    They didn't bother cleaning our table after the departing guests or bringing us water either. But that's Ok, being resourceful diners we moved to a clean table with a water bottle on it.

    On a plus note, the Gelato place makes a decent espresso.

    ETA: When it's open.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Andre, in reply to Sacha,

    The RWC generates less tourist traffic than the really busy times through summer so the free Wi-fi idea should really fly full-time. 100% FREE even. It’s a better idea than paying for the UFB infrastructure to offer really fast broadband to farmers then gifting everything to Telecom (who are mainly foreign owned), for example.
    In 1986 there used to be no supermarkets at all and only one dairy that closed at 5pm in the inner city so the two new supermarkets going in will make it a megapolis in comparison (with 4 in the CBD next year). It was a ghost town with wind swept streets after 6pm other than small hubs around pubs like Vulcan Lane, High Street etc and less than 1000 residents. Now the CBD has 50,000 residents. Maybe when the Wyndham Quarter gets more residents it’ll attract more cigarette vendors?

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 269 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to barnaclebarnes,

    Yep – That is standard for pretty much any waterfront restaurant around the world. Overpriced decidedly average or worse food.

    Isn't there some saying about an inverse relationship between a restaurant's views and the quality of its dining experience?

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • recordari, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Isn't there some saying about an inverse relationship between a restaurant's views and the quality of its dining experience?

    I would suggest the other way of looking at it is the higher the rent, the less money spent on recruiting, training and paying staff.

    The location means for six months the proprietors will probably get away with a continuous supply of first time customers, but after that I would hope reality sets in. Didn't this happen in the Viaduct?

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to recordari,

    The location means for six months the proprietors will probably get away with a continuous supply of first time customers, but after that I would hope reality sets in. Didn’t this happen in the Viaduct?

    Well, depends. If somewhere gets enough of a reputation as a place to be seen, as opposed to a place to eat good food - or into guidebooks for tourists - I imagine it could sustain that business model for quite some time.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • RJW,

    The message that all the improvements aren’t a result of the Cup but that the Cup allows us to see the benefits of them all at once – is clearly a “key message” in the Auckland Council Communications Strategy: Mayor Len Brown cheerfully and heartfeltedly delivered the very same message during his rousing speech which officially opened Q theatre on Friday night. Of course, it’s a good news message, and we can indeed see all the benefits right now…. and the city really is going to rock and be a very entertaining place over the next few weeks. And if you aren’t into rugby, try a show at Q theatre, 305 Queen Street – there’s a great roster of shows coming up from 7 September check shows here. There's a great bar/cafe - Citizen Q -there also, with a resident cocktail artist -- so you might even want to drop by for a drink.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    (“Hey! Media7 guy!”), who then explained to his friend that I hosted “a kind of underground TV show”.

    Had to have a little snort at that but then realised that it actually made me a bit angry.
    TVNZ's major foray into digital TV seen as "underground". Thank you Steven Joyce, thank you very much for destroying Public TV for the sake of investors in the Private sector.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4665 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    The location means for six months the proprietors will probably get away with a continuous supply of first time customers, but after that I would hope reality sets in. Didn’t this happen in the Viaduct?

    Well, depends. If somewhere gets enough of a reputation as a place to be seen, as opposed to a place to eat good food – or into guidebooks for tourists – I imagine it could sustain that business model for quite some time.

    The Viaduct did suffer a high degree of attrition in its first winter, without the America's Cup in town -- and probably deserved to. But it does seem to have settled somewhat now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    As far as the "Free" wifi goes...
    It would have cost almost nothing, in the greater scheme of things, for Telecom to have offered this as part of their RWC sponsorship, a drop in the bucket compared to the turnover of the market. I do, however, suspect that the lost revenue of thousands of tourists using the cell network to draw down data @$1+ per 10mb per day was a factor in their decision.
    I won't go into the RBI debacle, that bloody Steven Joyce again.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4665 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Clearly, the pool of experienced hospitality staff is not all that deep.

    On the contrary, there are more experiences hospo staff in Auckland than you can shake your largest stick at, myself included. But most bail from the industry after realising we can make twice as much money in a job with regular hours, fewer drunks, and more corporate health insurance plans. Even with the RWC, hourly rates in hospo are terrible and not likely to last much beyond October-there are plenty of places offering $13-14 an hour, which is not likely to bring anyone over the age of 20 out of the woodwork.

    On the night we were there, people were walking up and down looking for somewhere to buy cigarettes, which there wasn’t. There’s no after-dark retail at all.

    The development of that whole area has been a very rushed job. Some retail stores are trying to set up only to find no telcomms network into their building at all, so Eftpos, phones and internet are all off the menu. The only way to get network in is to dig up the roads, drill through concrete walls, etc and getting council permission to perform that kind of work before the RWC (a Road Opening Notice usually takes 2-6 weeks of negotiation and planning, for example) is virtually impossible.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 859 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    As far as the “Free” wifi goes…

    What if folk use this to download a few tunes from the dark side of the net?
    After Sept 1, the wi-fi provider gets 3 strikes. Hm. Free wi-fi could become one of those lost eras of the golden past. Kinda like free love :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1466 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    On the night we were there, people were walking up and down looking for somewhere to buy cigarettes, which there wasn’t. There’s no after-dark retail at all.

    To be honest, I don't necessarily want a dairy down there, and I suspect Waterfront Auckland don't either. It's not the right place for a dairy. And there is a massive Starmart at the base of the Crab - the old AHB building - anyway, about a 10 min walk away.

    what was definitely lacking was somewhere to buy water or an ice-cream – or did we miss something?

    There are two places to buy an icecream. There is one on North Wharf, and there is a place in the Fish Market building. The crowds may have obscured the North Wharf place - but it is there.

    Our overall impression was that it was a great space and will be even better as it gets extended, but the new bridge should have been built twice as wide to cope with the pedestrians.

    Agree with the bridge, but frankly, C'n'R wanted the bridge to carry cars so you know, people could drive down there along North Wharf. Actually they wanted a bus bridge so buses could drive onto North Wharf area, but I suspect that was code for cars. Very fortunately they didn't get their way. But yes, a wider bridge would be nice, but until money is found for it, enjoy the chummyness of that very simple yet interesting bridge.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Christopher Dempsey,

    To be honest, I don’t necessarily want a dairy down there, and I suspect Waterfront Auckland don’t either.

    But, it seems, the people who go there do want one. It should be possible to get a cold drink or a packet of crisps without going into a bar. Yeah, I know the food market is open during the day, but it's not quite the same thing. I honestly don't get why a convenience store would be such a terrible thing in a family area.

    There are two places to buy an icecream. There is one on North Wharf, and there is a place in the Fish Market building. The crowds may have obscured the North Wharf place – but it is there.

    That's the place with a half-hour queue.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18707 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey, in reply to Andre,

    Maybe when the Wyndham Quarter gets more residents it’ll attract more cigarette vendors?

    Given the number of submissions to the Waitemata LB draft Plan asking for smokefree public places I would have thought cigarette vendors to be a sunset industry.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • JordanTCarter,

    Nice post, Urban Media Guerilla Russell. Things like this make me feel a shade homesick for Auckland. (Shh, don't tell anyone.)

    Now how long is it going to take to run the tram all the way to Britomart?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Jul 2011 • 5 posts Report Reply

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