Walk through K Road's newly minted The Food Workshop past Moustache Milk and Cookie Bar (the second best kind of bar) and to the back of the elongated space. As you progress it will slowly get darker until you stroll across the hardwood floors of Lovebucket, K Road's coolest and quirkiest new watering hole. You'll feel like you've discovered a little secret as your eyes survey the eclectic surroundings.
You might notice the upside down green 40 oz bottles used as light bulbs, or the massive steampunk-like wood panel speakers mounted on the wall. Perhaps you'll spot the peach coloured floor to ceiling curtains and bar stools with intricately patterned black velvet cushions. Regardless of what you see first, you're going to want to spend a little time to notice everything. Because Lovebucket boasts a decor and ambience that feels straight out of a film noir classic from the 1950s.
Next you'll want to check out the drinks menu — whoever put this thing together needs a medal. It's a considered and artful list of original mixed drinks, put together with obvious skill and attention to detail. Our favourite drop was The Rattleskull, a tar black concoction of demerara rum, coffee, spiced molasses and a strong double stout. We discovered that its ominous name is a suitable description of the symptoms you'll encounter after a few of these. There's also cocktails on tap, the best of which has to be the Puncha-rillo! ($13) with tamarillo, gold rum, lime and ginger. If you're not keen on a mixed drink the extensive selection of wines and beers on tap and in the bottle are sure to impress even the most selective of drinkers.
When you eventually work up an appetite bending your elbow, combine salty and delicious highlights from the food menu like the hot smoked cow's cheese from Dunedin ($10) with the moreish cured meats ($9) like gin cured salmon or air-dried beef bresaola. For something a little more substantial grab a pressed toastie — these feature phenomenal ingredients like goat's chevre and honey truffle and may be the best toasted sandwiches you ever taste.
The staff take the whole experience up another level. They're super friendly and know the menu down to a tee, able to easily describe everything on the drinks list in detail or recommend a bite to eat. It's no surprise as Lovebucket's head barman is the ex-manager of Masu, and a fellow who knows a thing or two about hospitality.
Auckland needs more bars like this. The unique and considered approach to serving and creating beverages and bar snacks has rarely been seen in our city.