Nestled among the eclectic crowds and flamboyant bars of K' Road, Sly is marked by an odd assortment of framed photos mounted on a black wall, and a glass door with 'Gourmet Hot Dogs Inside!' scrawled in white pen. Say hello to Auckland's newest speakeasy. Back in the early 1900s, illegal taverns selling wine and spirits hit an all-time high. These speakeasies popped up during the Prohibition era in the United States, and are making their modern day resurgence.
For a split second, you will wonder why the front of house hostess ignores you on entry. Peer harder into the dim entranceway light and you will notice she is in fact a mannequin donning a striking black wig. The door into the bar itself is hidden, we won't ruin the fun and give away the secret to entry.
Once inside, the speakeasy is awash with dripping candles in wine bottles, twinkling chandeliers and forest green walls adorned with velvet curtains. A far cry from where it came, Sly used to be one of the area's infamous adult video stores. According to Freddy the owner, the renovations unearthed all matter of things from the dirty underbelly of K' Road's history. We didn't press him for the details.
As far as the food and drink offerings go, you would think that cocktails and hotdogs is an unlikely pairing. However, for some reason it just works and Sly's locally sourced Westmere Butchery dogs are not to be missed. The winners on the concise menu are the beef and mushroom sausage with caramelised onion, topped with a thick slab of brie cheese ($14), and the smoked maple jackfruit with charred peppers and Swiss cheese ($14). If you are not familiar with jackfruit, think of it as vegetarian pulled pork. Sound odd? Give it a go, you won't be disappointed. If you have a sweet tooth, Sly's ganache brownie with raspberries and vanilla cream is commendable.
Sly is the perfect place to go to for your next date night. It is a great spot for drinks with friends on a Friday evening. The food and drinks are reasonable priced. Cocktails, a light dinner and a shared dessert for two comes in at under $70. The venue seats around 30 people, and is a great space for a private function.