Secret bars are definitely a thing now. Innovative hospitality scenes from New York to London, to Berlin, have a plethora of such low-key haunts, all more bizarre and interesting than the last. Now Auckland has one, and it’s awesome. Unlike the majority of undisclosed watering holes, you don’t have to enter through a vintage telephone booth in a hot dog joint, or ask to see the Mayor Of Scaredy Cat Town. Nope. In distinctly Kiwi fashion, you simply stroll through happy drinkers at either Harry or George and enter the broom cupboard at the back, where you’ll experience a moment of utter confusion. At this point you’ll either require assistance from a bartender as you haplessly search the broom cupboard, or you’ll discover a poky and darkly lit entrance to a set of stairs…
Enter Jack. The lone, bearded, bartender is hunched over a dark wood bar as I enter, and is no doubt, bemused by the expression of sheer wonderment on my face. My lady friend, myself and the bartender, are alone in the dimly lit space, and I feel as if I’ve fallen through a Narnia-esque broom cupboard to a speakeasy joint in the early 1930s.
The cocktail list is short but intriguing and ever changing; designed each night by the bartender, with a specific theme in mind and a different female's name for each tipple. Mint is tonight's theme and the cocktails are classics, from a mint julep, to a gin mojito with a dash of orange liqueur. I go with a gin mojito named Jocelyn, which is a refreshing creation, perfect for a sweltering Auckland night in a secret attic bar.
Our romantic rendezvous is interrupted briefly by two small groups of people. One, the owner of Jack, Harry and George, and Kiwi media personality, Oliver Driver; the other, ex-George FM radio host and renowned DJ, Nick D. The arrival of semi-well known Kiwi celebrities only increased the intriguing mystery of Jack. So on that note, and without further description of Jack and its many secrets, I leave you with this prompt. Bring a date, venture down Ponsonby Road, through either Harry or George and fumble around in the broom cupboard; you may just find Auckland’s ultimate date spot, and best kept secret.