The Great South Pacific Tuning Fork is the rather odd, long-winded name of the lovely little bar attached to Vector Arena you probably haven’t noticed before. Darkly lit with old-fashioned booth seating, high tables and a lot of maroon velvet, it has a completely different look and feel (and superior acoustics) to the building it’s a part of.
Tuning Fork is becoming a live music venue in its own right, but it also provides the perfect spot to fuel up before or after a concert/game or just grab a drink in a corner of town which is strangely devoid of bars. There's a great selection of beer on tap, New Zealand and imported wine by the glass ($9-$12) and several classic cocktails ($14-$16). Full bar service is available at every gig.
We ordered two glasses of light, sweet Mt. Beautiful pinot gris and the wedges, which come topped with melted cheese, chopped bacon and sour cream, American-style. The menu is brief and to the point: sliders are the only vaguely trendy item, the rest is very much in the traditional bar snacks category - fries and pizza - but who's complaining?
The wedges tasted as good as they sound, and the glasses of wine were generously portioned. Seated in a black leather booth with heavy curtains blocking the outside world and listening to what sounded very much like Neko Case, my friend and I discussed how much it felt like being in a Southern American bar (not that either of us had been in one - but we both watch a lot of movies/TV).
Bars like Tuning Fork, which get the atmosphere and mix of acts just right, are hard to come by in Auckland. Check out Tuning Fork’s website here and make sure you head along for a drink and some live music this year.