Finn’s quick guide to Ponsonby’s music venues

For those of you just getting into the music world of Ponsonby or just following my articles every month, here’s a quick guide to the places you should visit, the bars and cafes that the musicians frequent.

One2One Cafe: Once known as Atomic Cafe, One2One is now the home of open mic nights and musical jams and improvisation from some of Auckland’s most talented musicians. Music happens most Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Thursday night’s ‘Jam Night’ is something everyone should attend at least the once. It is the perfect space for smaller folk bands on a Saturday night and is right in the middle of the Ponsonby strip so it’s hard to miss.

Golden Dawn: Ponsonby’s premier bar for music, there is always something on ranging from DJs to live bands and Sunday Jazz. Featuring some of the most interesting indie and alternative bands from Auckland or out of town, there is always something to see, alongside a drink from their mighty selection of alcohol. Golden Dawn is the place to be, hidden away right on the corner of Richmond Road and Ponsonby Road - go and find it.

Grand Central: We’ve featured our share of Grand Central bands in the last few months so you should know by now why it is a place to check out on a Friday or Saturday night.

The Wine Cellar: This is Auckland’s premier small venue, the spot that every band can say they performed one of their first gigs in and that perfect mixture of couches, mulled wine and mood lighting. The Wine Cellar is my favourite place in Auckland mid winter to wander into and cozy up, listening to whatever soloist, band or poet has the stage that night. Nestled in the belly of St Kevin’s Arcade on Karangahape Road, it caters to acoustic and quieter electric acts from early until 11pm and then if you still have a taste for music you can go next door to Whammy Bar. Going until the early hours, Whammy is the home of hard rock, punk and metal bands.

The Dog’s Bollix: One of the iconic venues in Ponsonby’s vicinity, the Dog’s Bollix is now the home of new bands performing the rock, folk and alternative genres. If you play in a band, it’s one of the spots to check out for your early gigs, nicely located on Newton road.

Freida Margolis: I wrote about Freida’s a few months back and First Sundays are still going strong. On 5 July they are hosting the Wellington Sea Shanty Society for a rowdy gig full of sea songs. Such a tiny bar means that you have to get in early to secure
a spot, but it’s always worth it as the intimacy ensures the concert is one to remember. It was always going to be hard to replace the West Lynn Organic Meats, but Freida’s is doing a good job so far.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the Auckland Old Folks Association Hall, as there are often some wonderful gigs there and recently the ‘All Ages’ crowd have started to make the Old Folks Hall home. This is great news for local school bands and young people, of which there are some stunning ones already emerging on the circuit. Of course, on the first Sunday of each month Folk at the Old Folks is your monthly fix of upcoming folk artists.

Check out their websites, go out for the night and discover some of our local musicians and the world they create.